Therapy and workshops in schools ‘could cut teen drinking’, researchers say

Teenagers at risk of becoming binge-drinkers have been helped by mental health therapy, researchers say. A study carried out in 21 London schools targeted young people believed to be at risk of emotional or behavioural problems. Some were given training in psychological strategies to help them cope with their feelings. Two years later, they were less likely to drink or binge-drink than high-risk students who had not had the therapy. This is from the BBC…

The study was led by Patricia Conrod, of King’s College London’s Institute of Psychiatry, with the University of Montreal and Sainte-Justine University Hospital Center in Canada.

It was commissioned by the charity Action on Addiction and looked at the personalities and drinking behaviour of just over 2,500 pupils aged 13 and 14 and then monitored their drinking over two years.

The students were classed as being at high or low risk of becoming dependent on alcohol in the future.

High-risk students were classed as those with certain personality traits, including having anxiety problems or “low” moods, as well as others judged to be impulsive or thrill-seekers.

Eleven of the schools were selected to run workshops designed to help about 700 teenagers seen as at high risk.

Staff in each of these schools were trained to help the teenagers find psychological strategies to manage their feelings and impulses.

The researchers said after two years, high-risk students in those schools were 29% less likely to drink compared with high-risk students at the schools where the therapy had not been provided, and 43% less likely to binge drink.

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