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Dtsch Arztebl Int. 2009 May;106(19):323-8. doi: 10.3238/arztebl.2009.0323. Epub 2009 May 8.

Binge drinking in childhood and adolescence: epidemiology, consequences, and interventions.

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  • 1Deutsches Zentrum für Suchtfragen des Kindes- und Jugendalters, Universitätsklinikum Hamburg-Eppendorf.



Episodic excessive alcohol consumption ("binge drinking") among children and adolescents has become a serious public health problem in Germany and is associated with a variety of risks.


Selective literature search of the Ovid Medline database from 1998 to 2008.


Episodic excessive alcohol consumption is associated not only with somatic complications, but also with traffic accidents and other types of accident, violent behavior, and suicide. The more frequently a child or adolescent drinks to excess, and the younger he or she is, the greater is the risk of developing an alcohol-related disorder (alcohol misuse or dependence syndrome). In the USA, brief motivational interventions have been shown to have a small to medium-sized beneficial effect in reducing further binge drinking and its complications.


The intervention HaLT ("Stop," also an acronym for Hart am Limit--"near the limit") is performed in a number of regions in Germany. Further types of brief motivating intervention should be developed and evaluated to prevent the development of alcohol-related disorders, where indicated, in children and adolescents that engage in binge drinking.


adolescent health; alcohol consumption; alcohol dependence; child health; short-term treatment

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