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New attempt to develop strategies to support people changing their drinking habits

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Posted October 25, 2015

From time to time people who are interested in the news from certain universities or institutes will notice that these institutions will make press releases even before conducting an actual research. Usually it is because of call for participants, which is not exactly interesting science news. Unless research itself is rather significant and interesting. This is a case for a new study at the University of Adelaide, where scientists are setting out to understand what happens when someone decides to stop drinking.

In most cultures consuming alcohol in groups is a mean of socialization, which makes it very difficult to change drinking habits. Now scientists will launch a research to help people making this decision. Image credit: Peg93 via Wikimedia, CC-BY-SA-3.0

In most cultures consuming alcohol in groups is a mean of socialization, which makes it very difficult to change drinking habits. Now scientists will launch a research to help people making this decision. Image credit: Peg93 via Wikimedia, CC-BY-SA-3.0

Although it seems to be a rather simple question, it is a good example how even very small problems are worth researching. It is a common knowledge that alcohol is not good for your health and can actually lead to very serious problems. But people who decide to stop drinking or at least to cut back their alcohol consumption face problems as well, because alcohol has such deep and strong roots in our socialization habits.

Ashlea Bartram, author of the study, explained: “Alcohol can play an important role in how people socialise with each other, but it can also have some negative consequences to people’s health and wellbeing. Because of the negative impacts, many established drinkers can be interested in reducing the amount they drink or, even stopping completely. However, for those whose social lives typically feature alcohol, making changes to their drinking may not only impact their own life, but also that of those around them – giving up drinking is not something that is done in isolation.”

Because how closely tied to our culture alcohol consumption is, a lot of people choose to use it as a mean of socialization. This means that suddenly deciding to refuse alcohol may lead to judgement from the others. Such person may be considered to be judgemental himself or simply rude or boring. In most cases refusing drink would have to come with a lot of explanations, which means it would make it harder to quit, since we all want to be accepted. However, scientist also notes that friends may be a great support as well. These are all just assumptions by now and research has to be done.

Bartram notes that there have been researches before about the social experiences of youth and young adults who do not drink alcohol. But not many focused on the experiences of adults who have been drinking as a mean of socialization with their friends and decided to stop or reduce their alcohol consumption. For this research scientist is already calling for participants. The ultimate goal is to understand the experiences of these people and to develop better strategies to support peple who decided to change their drinking habits.

Source: adelaide.edu.au

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