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Binge drinking can impair both mood and cognitive performance

  • Binge drinking by young people is on the rise in several countries.
  • Previous research suggests that binge drinking may have implications for the development of alcohol dependence.
  • New findings demonstrate that binge drinking itself has negative behavioral consequences, affecting mood and cognitive performance.

According to various reports, binge drinking by young people is increasing in Britain, the United States, and in developing countries throughout the world. Previous research suggests that binge drinking may have implications for the development of alcohol dependence. Research published in the March issue of Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research has found that binge drinking itself has negative behavioral consequences, affecting mood and cognitive performance.

"There is evidence that repeated, abrupt increases of alcohol levels in the brain, followed by abstinence, induces more damage in the brain than the same amount of alcohol taken uninterrupted in the same length of time," said Theodora Duka, professor at the University of Sussex and corresponding author for the study. "For instance, animals and humans who have undergone several withdrawals from alcohol will develop convulsions during withdrawal whereas their counterparts who have received the same amount of alcohol but have not experienced repeated withdrawal will not. Thus, we set out on this study to examine the effects of binge drinking on cognitive function."

"The approach of selecting individuals according to their self reports of drinking history and then assessing their mood and other cognitive abilities is unique," added Fulton T. Crews, director of the Center for Alcohol Studies at the University of North Carolina. "These individuals are not seeking treatment or aware of alcohol induced changes in their psychological make up."

Researchers recruited 100 (50 males, 50 females) young (between the ages of 18 and 30 yea
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