Hormonal birth control use associated with increased alcohol consumption and intoxication

Citation

Taggart, TC (2015). Hormonal birth control use associated with increased alcohol consumption and intoxication. 14th Anual Meeting of the Internatinal Society for the Study of Women's Sexual Health. Austin, TX.

Abstract

Worldwide, alcohol consumption among women is increasing, which is alarming considering women also fall victim to alcohol dependence more quickly than men. Previous research indicates that women's alcohol consumption and absorption rates as well as their subjective experience of feeling intoxicated may differ across specific phases of the menstrual cycle, suggesting that hormonal fluctuations may lead to increased drinking. Relatively few studies have evaluated the effects of alcohol use among women, nor the factors that may alter their response to alcohol, such as hormonal fluctuations. Thus, the present study aimed to examine the effect of one such factor, namely the use of hormonal birth control (HBC), on women's overall alcohol consumption rates and their perceptions of feeling intoxicated due to alcohol. Because research indicates that HBC may decrease hormonal fluctuations, it was hypothesized that women using HBC would be less likely to consume alcohol and to feel less intoxicated than women not using HBC. The present study used archival data from Wave 3 of the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health (Add Health) data set. A sub-sample of 5,504 women provided information on HBC and alcohol use. Participants' use of either birth control pills and/or the implant (e.g., Norplant) and/or the shot (e.g., Depo-Provera) as well as their binge drinking behaviors and subjective perceptions of intoxication in the past 12 months were assessed. The results of multiple linear regression analyses were contrary to our hypotheses: Women who took HBC were significantly more likely to engage in binge drinking and to feel more drunk or very high on alcohol than women who did not take HBC. These findings held even after controlling for age, education, and religiosity in all analyses. Our data suggest that hormone levels may in fact have an impact on both the amount of alcohol women consume as well as women's subjective experience of feeling intoxicated. However, due to the present study's correlational design and methodological limitations (e.g., individual item measures, self-report data), more research, particularly experimental research, is warranted in order to more fully assess this interesting conundrum.

URL

http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/jsm.12922/full

Reference Type

Conference proceeding

Book Title

14th Anual Meeting of the Internatinal Society for the Study of Women's Sexual Health

Author(s)

Taggart, TC

Year Published

2015

City of Publication

Austin, TX

Reference ID

5748