A new study has debunked the popular contention that binge drinking can place a bigger stress on the liver compared to daily alcohol intake. According to the report authored by researchers from the University of Southampton, “long-term daily drinking, rather than weekly binge drinking, is by far the biggest risk factor in serious liver disease.” The findings of the said study were published in the journal Addiction.
The study concluded that the increase in liver deaths in UK resulted from heavy drinking done everyday or nearly everyday, not the episodic binge intake as was originally believed. The regular drinking pattern is also found to be manifested at an early age. Based on the results of the study, going alcohol-free for several days within the week is a healthier pattern of alcohol intake.
The study looked into the dependency, drinking patterns and history of 234 subjects that were diagnosed with liver disease. Of the said sample, 106 had alcohol-related liver disease (ALD). 80 of the 106 manifest symptoms of cirrhosis or progressive fibrosis and 71 percent of the ALD group drank daily.
Patients from the population sample who had other types of liver disease reported taking alcohol sparingly. Only 10 of this group drank alcohol in moderate amounts for at least four days a week.
When the researchers looked at the drinking histories of 105 subjects, they found that ALD patients generally started drinking at an average of 15 years old – substantially younger compared to other subjects. They also drank more frequently and in large amounts compared to the non-ALD group whose drinking patterns started at age 20.
According to consultant hepatologist and lead author Dr Nick Sheron of the University of Southampton, “If we are to turn the tide of liver deaths, then along with an overall reduction in alcohol consumption – which means tackling cheap booze and unregulated marketing – we need to find a way to identify those people who are most likely to develop alcohol-related illnesses at a much earlier stage, and perhaps, we need to pay as much attention to the frequency of drinking occasions as we do to binge drinking.”
He added that the transition from binge drinking behavior during late adolescence and the early 20s to an increased frequency and volume of intake can be a point of intervention later on. He recommends that health professionals underlined the importance of maintaining at least three alcohol-free days in a week.
Explore this website further for more updates on this study. Here at Miramar Recovery Centers, we offer individual approaches to alcohol and drug addiction treatment to help clients overcome their addictions.