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Heavy drinking, conduct disorder linked to high-risk sexual behavior
Date:12/3/2007

St. Louis, Dec. 3, 2007 Psychiatry researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis have found that a clinical diagnosis of alcohol dependence in young adults is associated with having a high number of sex partners.

"Some participants in the study reported 50 or 100 partners, and research shows and common sense tells you that the more sex partners you have, the more likely you'll encounter someone with an STD," says first author Patricia Cavazos-Rehg, Ph.D., research instructor in the Department of Psychiatry. "Chances also increase for unintended pregnancies and other health complications."

The study, published in the December issue of the journal Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research, also found links between a conduct disorder diagnosis and high numbers of sexual partners as well as between problem drinking and more partners. Of the three, however, alcohol dependence had the most influence on number of sex partners.

Alcohol dependence is an excessive use of alcohol that's harmful to physical and mental health. Some alcohol-dependent people drink every day. Others may drink only sporadically but consume large amounts of alcohol when they do drink. That sort of binge drinking is particularly common in adolescents and young adults, like those surveyed in this study. Problem drinkers, on the other hand, have many of the same symptoms, and may go on to become dependent, but they were not alcohol dependent when the study was conducted.

Conduct disorder is a disruptive disorder, like ADHD or oppositional defiant disorder. Its symptoms tend to include truancy from school, setting fires, getting into fights or being cruel to people or animals.

Of those in this study who were alcohol dependent, 45 percent reported having 10 or more sexual partners. In addition, 37 percent of those with a conduct disorder diagnosis had at least 10 partners.

Previous studies have linked heavy drinking and c
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Contact: Jim Dryden
jdryden@wustl.edu
314-286-0110
Washington University School of Medicine
Source:Eurekalert

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