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Adolescents using math to decide their drunkenness: Study

Adolescents using math to decide their drunkenness: Study

November 03 | By Rachael

Alcohol consumption is no longer a taboo in today’s society. However, with alcohol use being rampant across all American states, people’s health and safety is at an enormous risk, due to increasing alcohol-related problems. Alcohol abuse, especially among young adults, is a serious public health issue that comes with both immediate as well as long-term consequences. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), excessive drinking leads to more than 4,300 deaths among young adults,  below 21 years of age, every year in the United States. Underage drinking has now become a cause of concern for lawmakers in the country.

Adolescents who become dependent on alcohol, experience increased tolerance, resulting in numerous unsuccessful attempts to cut down excessive alcohol consumption. Despite adopting several measures to curb alcohol intake, many young people find it difficult to do so. Interestingly, a new study by the researchers from the Ohio State University, published in the journal IEEE Transactions on Cybernetics, has suggested that young people use tactics similar to engineers analyzing a mechanical system, to decide whether they’ve had enough to drink.

Taking a more dynamic view of drinking behavior among young adults

The researchers were intrigued to find that colleges students drank until a certain limit, reached a particular level of drunkenness, and then, maintained that level by indulging in non-alcoholic drinks or sipping the alcohol, rather than gulping it at one go. In order to analyze the factors that drove alcohol consumption in young adults, John Clapp, a professor of social work and director of the Higher Education Center for Alcohol and Drug Abuse Prevention and Recovery at Ohio State, analyzed data relating to high-risk alcohol consumption among adolescents, gathered over a decade.

The researchers conducted alcohol breath tests and collected blood alcohol content (BAC) data of approximately 1,500 college-going students. They also recruited Ohio State engineer Kevin Passino, to study the data collected by them of students at parties and in bars in San Diego. The data was checked for patterns that bore similarity to a typical engineering problem.

Surprisingly, the students were found to use a mathematical principle known as proportional-derivative controller––which measures the distance a system has moved from a particular point and makes adjustments accordingly––to adjust their drinking behavior. The resulting phenomenon was exactly similar to the cruise control of a car, the researchers noted. As part of the study, they questioned the students on the level of drunkenness that they wanted to achieve, and thereafter, kept a record of the participant’s blood alcohol content (BAC) several times during the night.

The results showed that the students who wanted to drink less, maintained a BAC of 0.05, whereas the ones who had decided to get “very drunk” had a BAC of 0.1. The results have forced the scientific community to consider the students’ drinking behavior in more dynamic terms.

“We have a sense of what factors influence drinking behavior as it occurs naturally, but we don’t really understand how it all works together. It’s as if we’ve been taking Polaroid snapshots of these really complex behaviors, and now we’ll be able to capture high-definition movies,” said Clapp.

Lead an alcohol-free life

Excessive alcohol consumption is harmful. Despite this, most people addicted to it are unable to kick the habit and end up developing a dependence on alcohol. If you are from Colorado, there are many facilities for alcohol treatment in Colorado that can help you become sober.

To know more about the best facilities that offer a holistic approach to alcohol addiction treatment in Colorado, call the Colorado Alcohol Addiction Help at their 24/7 helpline number 866-592-9261. You can also chat online with our treatment advisors to get the necessary help to live a life free from alcohol and alcohol-induced problems.

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