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Int Rev Psychiatry. 2008 Oct;20(5):425-33. doi: 10.1080/09540260802344075.

Alcohol abuse and related factors in Asia.

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Taipei City Psychiatric Center, Taipei City Hospital, Taipei, Taiwan.


Alcohol problems are a global issue, and the nature of alcohol abuse is very complicated. The susceptibility to alcohol abuse varies greatly from one individual to another and also from one nation to another, depending on the availability of alcohol, a country's regulation related to alcohol, a country's cultural background, religious tradition and its economics. Alcohol dependence is also a complicated disease process. The prevalence of alcohol dependence also varies greatly from one ethnic group to another. Asia is the world's largest and most populous continent. The natural disasters, religious conflicts as well as political disputes cause people lack of opportunity in many countries. People in this region do not consume more alcohol than the people in the rest of the world. The prevalence of alcohol dependence is not as high as is seen in other regions. In Asia, not only socio-economic factors, but also biological factors influence drinking behaviour. Findings of functional genetic polymorphism of the major alcohol metabolizing enzymes, alcohol dehydrogenase (ADH) and aldehyde dehydrogenase (ALDH) have led to the suggestion that this enzyme system may possibly play a diverse but critical role in alcohol dependence and in the alcohol-related disease process in the different ethnic groups. This paper reviews alcohol problems and related factors. Their management and prevention strategy are discussed.

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