Children of Alcoholics Drink More When Stressed

Family drinking history predicts how much alcohol people consume if burdened, study finds

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Children of Alcoholics Drink More When Stressed

THURSDAY, Oct. 6, 2011 (HealthDay News) -- People whose parents had a drinking problem are more likely to reach for the bottle when they're under stress, a new study says.

Swedish researchers divided 58 healthy people into two groups based on whether they had a family history of alcohol abuse. Both groups were placed in a stressful situation (solving math problems under timed conditions in public) and then allowed to drink.

People who had at least one parent with a drinking problem drank more than others after being put under stress, University of Gothenburg researchers found.

The study was published in the October issue of the journal Pharmacology Biochemistry and Behavior.

Previous research has shown that children of alcoholics have a 50 percent increased risk of developing a drinking problem. These new findings shed light on this association, the researchers said.

"If alcohol relaxes you when you're stressed, then you should try to find other ways of calming yourself down -- relaxation exercises, for example," study author Anna Soderpalm Gordh said in a university news release.

More information

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has more about alcohol consumption.

SOURCE: University of Gothenburg, news release, Sept. 20, 2011

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