Study finds single question can help detect drinking problem in teens

Binge drinking is common in the United States, mostly among young adults aged 18–34 years. According to a 2016 report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), approximately 88,000 people in America succumbed to excessive alcohol use during 2006-2010. A prolonged dependence on alcohol deteriorates the body as well as the brain, and causes other related harms such as adverse impact on emotional stability, finances, career, and relationships, according to the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence (NCADD).

A new study, titled “Screening for Underage Drinking and Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 5th Edition Alcohol Use Disorder in Rural Primary Care Practice,” by the University of Pittsburgh, found that a single question pertaining to alcohol can help identify drinking habit in teens as well as their probability to suffer from  alcohol use disorder (AUD) in the future. The study, published in the Journal of Pediatrics in April 2016, suggested that an estimated 10 percent of the participants aged over 14 having met the criteria for AUD.

One question screening is simple, cost-effective method to detect AUD

The researchers surveyed nearly 1,200 teenagers aged 12-17 years from rural Pennsylvania. The questions not only targeted to screen the individuals for alcohol abuse, but also to detect the risk for AUD based on the updated definition in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 5th Edition (DSM-5).

The researchers found that 44 percent teenagers who had confessed to having at least one drink in the past three days were later found to be affected by AUD during a diagnostic test that followed. The researchers also observed that 99 percent of those who had expressed their dissent to respond to the three days-per year question regarding their drinking habits had exhibited no signs of AUD. To quantify the observations made during the question-answer phase, the scientists conducted a diagnostic study for teenagers who had answered in the affirmative and were able to accurately distinguish 91 percent of teens afflicted with AUD.

Though a two-question screening test, based on the patient’s age, is already in place to detect alcohol problem in teens, the new study advocates the use of one-question screening to detect the frequency of alcohol use in teenagers. This is “a simple, brief, and cost-effective clinical assessment procedure” to determine the risk for AUD among teenagers.

Path to recovery

Alcohol is one of the most common addictive substance in America. In fact, the increasing number of deaths and related incidents attributed to alcohol use each year in the country only point at the vacillating response of the American youth towards its detrimental effects. Dr. Duncan B. Clark of the department of psychiatry at the University Of Pittsburgh School Of Medicine said, “Given the relatively high prevalence of alcohol-related harm among youth, medical organizations recommend routine screening for underage drinking in clinical practice. Approaches to facilitate screening to identify adolescents with alcohol-related problems are particularly needed for primary care practitioners in rural settings, given higher rates of alcohol use among rural youth.”

Underage drinking will remain a disputable cause of major fatalities for as long as alcohol is made accessible to underage persons. If you or your loved one is struggling with alcohol addiction and is looking for necessary help, you may get in touch with the Florida Alcohol Addiction Helpline for information regarding the right choice of alcohol rehab centers in Florida. You may call our 24/7 helpline at 866-220-5381 or chat online with one of our representatives for more information.