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Marriage a Perfect Prescription to Prevent Alcoholism?

Getting a divorce increases the risk of developing an alcohol use disorder (AUD) by more than sevenfold for women and almost sixfold for men, new research shows. The results also predicted that the risk for AUD is elevated for an identical twin getting divorced, but to a much lesser degree, which further suggests that marriage itself – and not genetic or environmental traits - might protect against AUD.

The results are "a wake-up call" for reminding clinicians of the importance of social and psychological factors for alcoholism, lead author Kenneth S. Kendler, MD, professor, Department of Psychiatry, Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond, told Medscape Medical News.

"This is not just a problem in our genes or in our brain; it"s also strongly related to key aspects of the human experience, like having loving and caring relationships," he added.

Research shows that divorced and single people typically drink more than those who are married, but the reason for this is unclear."There hasn"t been a systematic, large-scale study like this one to give us more insight into the causal nature" of the relationship, said Dr Kendler.


The study was published online January 20 in the American Journal of Psychiatry.