As a company that works closely with behavioral health providers, we routinely report on new policy updates and clinical research. For example, in recent years, studies have increasingly suggested that there is a possible correlation between alcohol use disorder, or AUD, and an individual previously experiencing severe trauma.
Previous studies have shown that alcoholism and AUD is more commonly diagnosed in men versus women. However, in recent years AUD is increasingly diagnosed in women. The rise in the prevalence AUD among women is associated with substantially higher rates of binge and heavy drinking behaviors. But what has created this change?
Women and AUD:
Researchers are not sure, but the increase in general levels of stress and a previous history of traumatic experience are possible contributing factors. Additional research is needed with a greater focus on sex-specific pathways to alcohol misuse and AUD.
Other more recent studies used smaller sample sizes to study inflammatory markers, toxicology, neurocognitive assessments and MRIs. With a control group of 30 individuals, and another 30 people who had been diagnosed with AUD; differences were noticed.
Women who were diagnosed with an alcohol use disorder, and had experienced trauma in their past; displayed higher levels of inflammation. Surprisingly, the men in the study with a similar AUD diagnosis and history of trauma, did not exhibit the same elevated levels of inflammation.
Other studies have already shown more pronounced associations between trauma and substance use in women when compared to men. Explanations for this difference theorize that women experience a greater exposure to high-impact traumatic events. These events can include physical and sexual assaults, spouse/partner violence and rape.
Research seems to indicate that women are more susceptible to alcohol and drug-induced behavioral health abnormalities. Yet, additional studies are needed on this topic so that treatments can be better focused on effectively treating AUD in women.
Society needs to remember that addiction is a disease of the brain. The previously mentioned studies strongly highlight the physical and environmental factors that influence the severity of addiction.
Alcohol Consumption and Age:
Other research has investigated the subject of age, alcohol consumption and the effect on health. The research’s data suggest that people under the age of 40 are at the greatest risk of experiencing negative health risks from alcohol consumption.
Interestingly, adults over the age of 40 may actually experience some health benefits from consuming a smaller amount of alcoholic beverages.
The study suggests that for people over the age of 40, consuming small amounts of alcohol, which the study defined as 1 to 2 standard drinks per day, could produce some health benefits. These possible benefits include a reduced risk of cardiovascular disease, stroke and even diabetes.
Note, the study only looked at adults over 40 who have no underlying health conditions. Yet, for people under the age of 40, there were no measurable health benefits from the consumption of alcohol.
The research was based on an analysis of alcohol use estimates from 204 separate nations. The researchers estimated that roughly 1.34 billion people consumed harmful amounts of alcohol in the year 2020.
Men who were under the age of 40 were identified as the largest segment of the population drinking unhealthy amounts of alcohol in every nation. Researchers estimated that 60% of alcohol-related injuries was due to unsafe amounts of alcohol consumption by this age group.
However, the researchers did acknowledge that their study had statistical limitations. For example, they did not look at individual drinking behavior. For example, people who infrequently binge drink versus individuals who drink smaller, but consistent amounts of alcohol over a number of days. Also, overall alcohol consumption was self-reported and the COVID-19 pandemic created missing data points.
Yet, researchers recommend that governments and policy makers revise their alcohol consumption guidelines. Ideally, consumption levels should account for an individual’s age, since men under the age of 40 are the most likely to engage in dangerous levels of alcohol consumption.
About Advanced Billing & Consulting Services:
ABCS is a provider of professional medical billing services for behavioral health professionals, which includes dedicated rcm services for IOP and PHP. Our approach to revenue cycle management allows us to create a unique service package to address your facility’s individual needs. At the same time, our dedicated and experienced account executives are here to answer any questions and solve billing problems.
ABCS also provides experienced insurance credentialing services so that practices can easily submit applications or monitor a practitioner’s status, whether they are a physician, clinical psychologist, clinical nurse specialist, nurse practitioner or physician assistant.
If you are interested in learning more about our specialties, and what our account executives can do for your PHP and IOP programs, reach out to us.
In addition, ABCS provide software tools (eWebSchedule), EVV and billing services for Medicaid waiver provider agencies that provide supports for the Ohio and California I-DD provider community.
To learn more, email or call us at 866-460-2455 or 614-890-9822.
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