Binge and High-Intensity Drinking – Laboratory Assessment and Underlying Risk Factors


Some patterns of alcohol consumption are riskier than others. How rapid consumption of alcohol contributes to the increased risk of alcohol use disorder is unclear. We developed an experiment in which participants were given specific control over how quickly their breath alcohol concentration (BrAC) changes, and then tested for relationships to risky drinking patterns. How fast participants reached the binge-drinking threshold of 80 mg/dL differentiated real-life binge and high-intensity drinking groups and was associated with density of family history of alcoholism, with interview-based relationships replicated in COGA. Our results highlight the importance of counseling people on not only how much they drink, but how quickly they drink and with special risk in those with family history.   

Plawecki, M.H., Boes, J., Wetherill, L, Kosobud, A.K., Stangl, B.L., Ramchandani, V. A., Zimmermann, S. U., Nurnberger, J., Jr., Schuckit, M., Edenberg, H. J., Pandey, G., Kamarajan, C., Porjesz, B., Foroud, T., O’Connor, S. (2022). Binge and high-intensity drinking—Associations with intravenous alcohol self-administration and underlying risk factors. Addiction Biology, 27 (6):e13228. doi:10.1111/adb.13228