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Does Excessive Partying in Your 20s Lead to Alcoholism Later in Life?

By February 11, 2019Drinking Facts

The Hangover Hospital provides the top hangover cure in Key West. We also like to provide our enthusiasts with pertinent information concerning their drinking. So, does excessive partying in your early 20s lead to alcoholism later in life?

This is a bit of a loaded question, of course, because it relies on the term “excessive”. What constitutes “excessive” partying, however? Ideally, there would be some average that we could measure “excessive” partying against and then determine if one person’s partying is more substantial than another’s. Chances are, this information would be very difficult to come by.

There’s no doubt, however, that those who engage in consistent binge drinking are setting themselves up for something worse down the road. While partying in and of itself isn’t necessarily an indicator that a single individual will develop a problem later in life, statistically, there is a correlation between those who binge and those who become alcoholics.

The Correlation

Statistics can be skewed by a number of factors. Firstly, those who never binged or never partied in their 20s are unlikely to develop a problem with either drugs or alcohol because they have no relationship to these potentially damaging substances. That leaves a pool of individuals who did party in their 20s to draw from. To be sure, a correlation then appears between those who drank in their 20s and those who have alcoholism later on. But that is a long way from proving that alcoholism is actually caused by drinking earlier in life.

Tragically, though, the rise in alcohol-related deaths are mainly targeting those between the ages of 35 and 54. Men more often than women are likely to find themselves resorting to alcoholism if there are other troubles in their life.

Alcohol-related deaths are much higher in lower-income households than they are in higher-income ones. There can be a number of reasons for this. First, access to drug and alcohol treatment programs is harder for the working poor who may not have health insurance. Personal income has been determined to be a much greater indicator for men than it was for women.

Excessive Drinking Does Cause Serious Health Problems

Excessive drinking, whether in your early 20s or later, does cause serious health problems. Studies have shown that those who drink heavily in high school are at greater risk of developing deleterious symptoms earlier than those who wait until the legal drinking age. This is believed to be linked to the fact that younger bodies are still growing and thus more susceptible to serious complications. That these complications manifest themselves earlier in those who began younger should come as no surprise.

Those in Their 20s Who Binge Drink are at Greater Risk Of…

Let’s say your average 20-year-old goes out and drinks heavily two nights a week. Is this a serious problem long-term? Studies do not show a clear link between what many would consider routine drinking habits and serious alcoholism later in life. The studies do, however, show a link between drinking and serious short-term consequences. These include risks of:

  • Car accidents;
  • Injury; and
  • Drunken altercations, among others.

In addition, heavy drinking will affect your liver regardless of whether or not you’re 20, 30, or 50. For that reason, medical professionals recommend that you have no more than 14 units of alcohol per week. That’s 14 beers, 14 shots, or about a bottle and a half of wine.

20-Year-Olds are Drunker Than Ever

There is also concern that 20-year-olds today imbibe more alcohol than any other age group ever before. While that may be a bit of an exaggeration, the culture has certainly changed from the 1950s to what we see today. For that reason, medical professionals are linking an increased amount of alcohol-related deaths to a more permissive attitude toward partying.

Examining the Facts

The relevant facts, in this case, are: Alcohol causes liver damage and the more alcohol you drink the more damage it leads to. It is rare to find those in their 20s with severe liver damage, but those who drink every day can cause serious damage to their livers. Those who continue to party like they did in their 20s into their 30s and 40s are much more likely to have serious liver damage than those who don’t.

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