- A research team
has found that excessive alcohol use that leads to alcohol use disorder is
influenced by the use of marijuana.
- There are other
risk factors that include parental use of alcohol, separation of parents,
influence of peers.
- There are 4
stages in the development of alcohol disorder and the individual
transitions through these stages as the consumption of alcohol increases.
drinking problem which increases in severity over a period of time is called
"alcohol use disorder" or AUD. The dependency on alcohol can lead to this
disorder, though it takes a period of time, it occurs over several stages. When
an individual is first initiated into drinking alcohol, it takes some time
before the individual becomes increasingly dependent on alcohol.
dependency on alcohol continues to increase, a "cluster" of problems that are
associated with alcohol intake comprise AUD.
‘Narcotic drugs like marijuana reduce inhibitions, leading to increased alcohol consumption.’
In the United
States, a study estimated that in 2012, there were approximately 7.2 percent or
17 million adults above the age of 18 who had AUD. In this population, there
were 11.2 million men with 5.7 million women. Teenagers who took up an early
drinking habit have also been diagnosed with an AUD and in the same year it was
estimated that 855,000 teenagers between the ages 12 and 17 had an AUD.
Criteria for Alcohol
certain guidelines that are mentioned in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual
of Mental Disorders (DSM) which need to be adhered to, in order to determine
the condition. There are 11 criteria that are mentioned in the manual, out of
which an individual should meet any two during a period of one year. There are
three different levels of severity associated with AUD- mild, moderate and
The different stages of
AUD have not been studied thoroughly and the current study examines families at
high risk for this condition, to identify the risk factors that are associated
with the various stages of AUD.
K. Bucholz and colleagues studied the 4 transitions that occurred during the
development of AUD using information from teenagers as well as young adults.
The 4 transitions were
- Time to first
- First drink to
- First drink to
- First problem to
There were certain
influencers that were identified in the study which included
- Peer substance
- Parental AUD
- Use of marijuana
- Exposure to
- The differences
in the psychopathologies of the individuals
The results of
the study showed that the influencers affected the transition from one stage
of AUD to another but the maximum influence was the psychopathologies of the
individual and the use of marijuana, which
increased the chance of transitioning to the next stage.
Initiation of the
habit was found to be associated with a peer as well as maternal
influence. However, the extent of influence afforded by marijuana use lead the
team to believe that they were significant risk factors for
alcohol use disorder.
disorder is diagnosed in an individual if the individual has had any two of the
following situations within a year.
- Was there a time
during the year when you drank more than how much you intended to drink?
- Did you feel like
quitting more than once but could not stop?
- Did you spend a
considerable amount of time drinking and did you suffer from significant
- Have you ever
experienced a period of craving?
- Did your drinking
habit affect your ability to work or to take care of the family?
- Did the habit
cause trouble with family and friends and did you continue to drink?
- Did you stay away
from activities that you thought were once pleasurable but were now
avoiding because you needed time to drink?
- Did you ever get
into dangerous situations like fighting when you were drinking?
- Did you continue
to drink even though it was aggravating your health condition or did you
ever suffer from a memory blackout?
- Do you have to
drink more than normal amounts in order to get the same emotional high
that you used to get earlier?
- Did you get
depressed or feel like you are missing something big when you tried to
stay away from drinking?
disorder can affect the normal functioning of an individual and can lead to
increased dependency. The most significant factor from this study is that the
use of marijuana can increase the risk of AUD. In countries where this narcotic
drug is commonly used, like in the U.S, the risk of developing AUD is very
high. Therefore, the use of marijuana should be monitored, not only to
safeguard against the addictive tendencies afforded by the narcotic drug, but
also for its influence on drinking.
- Alcohol Use Disorder - (https://www.niaaa.nih.gov/alcohol-health/overview-alcohol