Herald Scotland, 10th Feb: Drinking habits study reveals teenagers with lowest levels of parental control ‘heaviest drinkers.

Thanks to SHAAP for their weekly media monitoring.
This article was taken from Herald Scotland, 10th Feb.

A study of adolescents’ drinking habits has found the heaviest consumers of alcohol were teenagers under the lowest levels of parental control.

The biggest drinkers among the 11 to 17-year-olds were also the most secretive about their use of alcohol.

Researchers from Glasgow University and Queen’s University Belfast analysed data from 4,937 young people between 2000 and 2011.

The study suggests that the determining factor in alcohol use is not the quality of the relationship between parent and child, but the level of control exercised by parents.

Dr Mark McCann, from the MRC/CSO Social and Public Health Sciences Unit at Glasgow University, said: “Our results suggest the role of parents in determining alcohol behaviour is consistently important.

“We are hypothesising that while emotional support and closeness are important for ensuring mental wellbeing, when it comes to health behaviours like alcohol use, parental rules may have more of an influence over factors outside the home such as peer influences and social media.”

Dr McCann said all families need to be more aware of alcohol’s long-term influence on physical and mental health.

He said: “Given that adolescence is often a critical period for the beginning of alcohol use, and that alcohol harms are not confined to children from so-called ‘problem’ families, support for adolescent parenting – rather than alcohol awareness for parents – may be a more beneficial target for public policy aimed at young people’s health behaviour.”

The paper, titled Assessing elements of a family approach to reduce adolescent drinking frequency, is published in the journal Addiction.

Daily Mirror, 8th Feb: Boozy pensioners risk ‘alcoholic dementia’ with the damage from drink rivaling Alzheimer’s

Thanks to SHAAP for their weekly media monitoring.
This article was taken from Daily Mirror, 8th Feb.

Studies have shown that baby boomers are the heaviest drinkers and it’s leaving thousands hospitalised every year with mental disorders.

As we live longer, age-related maladies loom large unless we adjust our lifestyles and try to stay healthy into old age. What we fear most is declining brain function and the spectre of Alzheimer’s .

But it’s now emerging that alcoholic brain damage is catching up with ­Alzheimer’s because oldies are drinking more and more.

“Alcohol-related memory problems are grossly under-reported and mistaken for Alzheimer’s disease,” said Dr Tony Rao, Consultant Old Age Psychiatrist at the Maudsley Hospital, South London.

“Ten years ago, I would have been treating no more than three people at any one time for alcohol-related brain damage. Now there are at least 10 patients suffering in the service I am working in.”

Most of his patients were thought to have either depression or Alzheimer’s. Then they admitted to heavy drinking and a diagnosis of alcohol-related brain damage followed. Most were in their 70s, but recently more people are in their mid- to late-60s.

Baby boomers, those aged 51-70, are more likely to drink every day, often at home, than any other age group. A recent Health Survey for England found the heaviest drinkers are in late middle age or older.

Among men, a third of 65- to 74-year-olds are over the limit of 21 units a week, and nearly one in 10 are drinking more than 50 units.

Women aged 55 to 64 are the heaviest female drinkers. A fifth of them drink more than the recommended 14 units a week, while one in 20 consume more than 35 units.

These habits take a toll. More older people are hospitalised every year for mental disorders related to alcohol (11,373) than for alcohol-related liver disease (9,890). This increase is far greater than the growth in the elderly population.

The bottom line is that this bingeing behaviour is leading to more over-60s being hospitalised for alcoholic brain damage, a condition known as Korsakoff syndrome, which is similar to dementia.

You get profound memory loss caused by long-term heavy drinking – and it’s irreversible. Although the numbers are small at the moment, they are trending sharply upwards.

“Alcohol consumption among older people is frequently overlooked and under-addressed,” said Tom Smith, head of policy at the charity Alcohol Concern.

“As a consequence, we are seeing alcohol-related harm rocket among this age group – not only physical, but mental and behavioural.

“As people live longer there is a growing need for targeted strategies to tackle excessive drinking in older age.”

Exciting new research: Understanding and responding to those bereaved through their family members’ substance misuse.

Understanding and responding to those bereaved through their family members’ substance misuse. 

Below is an overview of an ongoing research project, funded by the ESRC and undertaken collaboratively between the University of Bath and University of Stirling.


Principal Investigator, Professor Tony Walter and his research team have been talking to adults who have been bereaved following a family member’s drug or alcohol misuse. The project has two distinct stages. Initial qualitative interviews will be used to identify ways of coping with bereavement through alcohol or drug misuse. Discussion outcomes will then be used to inform practice guidelines for practitioners who provide support services.


The research aims to provide a better understanding of the needs of bereaved family members to cope with loss which is often misunderstood and stigmatised by society.


The project was funded by the Economic and Social Research Council for 3 years (2012-2015) and has been undertaken by death studies’ academics from the University of Bath and in collaboration with addiction studies’ academics at the University of Stirling. A family member with experience of this type of bereavement has also been involved.

MORE INFORMATION can be obtained from http://www.bath.ac.uk/cdas/research/understanding-those-bereaved-through-substance-misuse/