Adolescent alcohol intoxication in Dutch hospital centers of pediatrics: characteristics and gender differences

Selma H. Bouthoorn, Joris J. van Hoof, Nicolaas van der Lely

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    Abstract

    Gender differences in alcohol intoxication among adolescents are still largely unknown, whereas these differences have been studied in adults. To investigate possible differences, this study analyzed pediatric admissions for alcohol intoxication to the majority of Dutch hospitals between 2007 and 2009. Another aim was to explore key characteristics (e.g. blood alcohol concentration, duration of reduced consciousness, and age) and trends of alcohol intoxication among adolescents in the period 2007–2009. We analyzed data from the Dutch Pediatric Surveillance system, which monitors alcohol intoxication among children in pediatric departments of Dutch hospitals. Patients aged 11–17 years with reduced consciousness due to alcohol intoxication were included. The number of adolescents admitted with alcohol intoxication increased sharply from 2007 to 2009. The average age of the patients treated for alcohol intoxication increased from 15.3 years in 2007 and 15.4 years in 2008 to 15.7 years in 2009. The duration of reduced consciousness due to alcohol intoxication also increased over the 3-year period: from 2.2 to 3.1 h. Gender differences were observed regarding alcohol intoxication characteristics. Most strikingly, intoxicated girls were younger (15.3 vs. 15.7 years), had a lower blood alcohol concentration (1.79 vs. 1.94 g/l) and were hospitalized for shorter times than boys. No association was found between alcohol intoxication and other, possibly illicit drug use. The drinks most consumed prior to hospital admission were spirits and beer. Alcohol intoxication among adolescents is an emerging problem. Differences in intoxication characteristics between boys and girls were observed. These findings are important for future prevention and intervention strategies. In the Netherlands, special policlinics for children with alcohol intoxication have already been established.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)1023-1030
    Number of pages8
    JournalEuropean journal of pediatrics
    Volume170
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 2011

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