Binge Drinking Not A Result Of Post-Traumatic Stress

Sexually assaulted women not more likely to use alcohol to cope

/ Author:  / Reviewed by: Joseph V. Madia, MD

(RxWiki News) Some people feel pain and express that pain, while others try their hardest to hide it. Alcohol is a common substance used to mask feelings, but does everyone use it to cope?

Researchers wanted to find out if females who were sexually assaulted used alcohol to manage their post traumatic stress.

"Sexual assault did not lead to an increase in binge-drinking behavior."

Lead author, Kate Walsh, clinical intern at Medical University of South Carolina in Charleston, and colleagues surveyed more than 1,800 girls, between the ages of 12 and 17, three times throughout the 2005 and 2009.

It's known that binge drinking can lead to higher rates of sexual victimization, says Walsh. This study looked to see if the opposite was true: do sexually assaulted girls binge drink to cope?

Post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) can occur from any shocking event that has the potential to cause injury or death. Binge drinking was considered in this study to be five or more alcoholic drinks in one night.

The study found that girls who were sexually victimized had more PTSD symptoms, but had no difference in the number of incidents of binge drinking compared to girls who were not assaulted. Even after accounting for previous episodes of binge drinking there was still no difference between binging after the sexual assault.

This study found that not everyone uses alcohol as a coping mechanism, says Jennifer Livingston, Ph.D., research scientist at the University of Buffalo Research Institute on Addictions.

The research is published in the Journal of Adolescent Health.

Reviewed by: 
Review Date: 
July 28, 2011
Last Updated:
July 30, 2011