Heavy episodic drinking in Europe: a cross section study in primary care in six European countries
WALKER, CARL (2011) Heavy episodic drinking in Europe: a cross section study in primary care in six European countries Alcohol and Alcoholism, 46 (5). ISSN 0735-0414
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Official URL: http://alcalc.oxfordjournals.org/content/early/201...
Aims: We examined the prevalence of heavy episodic drinking in general practice attenders who were non-hazardous drinkers, the associated risk factors and the outcome over 6 months. Methods: Consecutive attenders aged 18–75 were recruited from the UK, Spain, Slovenia, Estonia, the Netherlands and Portugal and followed up after 6 months. Data were collected on alcohol use using the Alcohol Use Disorder Identification test (at recruitment and 6 months) and risk factors for heavy episodic alcohol use at recruitment. Results: The prevalence of heavy episodic drinking in non-hazardous drinkers was 4.5per cent across Europe [lowest in Portugal (1.5per cent); highest Netherlands (8.4per cent)]. It was less frequent in Spain, Slovenia, Estonia and Portugal compared with the UK and Netherlands. It was higher in men [odd ratio (OR) 4.4, 95per cent confidence interval (CI) 3.3, 5.9], people between 18 and 29 years of age, those employed (OR 1.8, 95per cent CI 1.3, 2.6) and those using recreational drugs (OR 2.1, 95per cent CI 1.4, 3.3). It was lower in people with existing DSMIV major depression (OR 0.54, 95per cent CI 0.31, 0.96). Heavy episodic drinkers were more likely to become hazardous drinkers at 6 months (male: OR 7.2, 95per cent CI 4.1, 12.7; female: OR 9.4, 95per cent CI 4.3, 20.6). Conclusion: Women and men in the UK, men in the Netherlands and younger people in all countries are at the greatest risk of exhibiting heavy episodic drinking behaviours even in the absence of hazardous alcohol use. There is hence an urgent need for general practitioners to consider early detection and management of heavy episodic drinking behaviour in this population
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