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Archives of Clinical Psychiatry (São Paulo)

Print version ISSN 0101-6083On-line version ISSN 1806-938X


SILVEIRA, Camila Magalhães et al. Epidemiology of heavy drinking and heavy episodic drinking in Brazil: a systematic review of literature. Rev. psiquiatr. clín. [online]. 2008, vol.35, suppl.1, pp.31-38. ISSN 0101-6083.

BACKGROUND: Heavy episodic drinking has been shown to be closely associated with considerable damage to and burden on society. OBJECTIVES: This review aims to give an overview of the Brazilian reality based on socio-demographic aspects, considering individual and social factors related to heavy drinking. METHODS: A computer-assisted search of relevant articles was conducted in the foremost scientific databases. RESULTS: Males tended to heavy drinking more frequently than females. Heavy episodic drinking was most prevalent among adolescents and young adults, though this prevalence tended to level off as they age. Socioeconomic conditions appear to have an effect on heavy drinking. The early onset of heavy drinking has been associated with a history of alcohol dependency in the adult phase. Heavy episodic drinking coincided with other psychoactive substance usage. Motives for heavy drinking included both social activities as well as the availability of money. Peer pressure was one of the strongest influencing factors in binge drinking and seemed to outweigh parental influence, particularly from late adolescence onward. Heavy drinking also varied according to both the predominant adult and adolescent drinking culture, with more binge drinking in the southern areas of Brazil as compared with the northern and central regions. CONCLUSIONS: A myriad of socio-demographical, individual, and social characteristics associated with heavy drinking have been identified. However, knowledge in these areas remain limited, as most research has been conducted on specific groups and situations, in particular, that of North American college students. More research in Brazil is urgently needed, as results from other cultural contexts should not be generalized.

Keywords : Alcohol; heavy episodic drinking; binge drinking; general population; Brazil.

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