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Teenage Alcohol Abusers' Health Complaints Often Psychosomatic

Recent research by the University of Pittsburgh examined the self-reported health problems of almost 260 youths aged between 14 and 18, some with alcohol use disorders (AUDs). In the past, a correlation between AUDs and self-reported health problems has been discovered, and this study investigated the cause.

Amongst the physical problems reported were chest and abdominal pain, sleeping and breathing difficulties, muscle and joint pain and headaches. Focusing on "negative emotionality," researchers found that most of these complaints were in fact psychosomatic, related not to organ damage caused by drinking, but anxiety and depression.

However, differences in health between the teenagers with AUDs and the control group were real enough. Those with AUDs had higher liver enzyme levels, and more abnomalies in physical, particularly oral exams. Apparently, some oral problems can be traced to a low level of personal health maintenance, including tooth-brushing.

Dr. Clark, associate professor at the university, commented that liver damge was lower compared to adults with ADUs, probably due to a lower level of alcohol intake. Even so, he stated, "With continued excessive drinking, they may develop permanent liver damage."; Source: University of Pittsburgh


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