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Concern over young Belgians trying alcohol for first time in early teens

Nightshop in elgium
17:25 23/01/2023

It’s no secret that Belgians love a good party and enjoy a beer. However, medical specialists are worried that early drinking could be the start of a path towards addiction, reports RTL.

The concern is that young Belgians are experiencing alcohol earlier, with the first drink consumed on average between the ages of 12 and 14.

There are a number of factors that can lead to a problematic relationship with alcohol, including genetics and social environment, say experts. For example, having a family who drinks excessively, is one high-risk factor.

Personality disorders such as impulsivity or attention deficiency can lead to addiction, according to Thomas Orban, a general practitioner who specialises in alcoholism and is the co-author of the book L’alcool sans tabous.

Some 38% of the population have consumed alcohol before the age of 15 without experiencing a lifelong addiction, says Dr Orban. “We are not the same when it comes to alcohol addiction, which is something that many people ignore.” Consumption should be limited so that it remains a pleasure and not a reflex, he adds.

With 82% of Belgians over the age of 15 drinking alcoholic beverages, they fortunately don’t all develop a dependency.

It’s hoped that greater awareness through education will allow the consumption of alcohol to remain a pleasure rather than become a problem.

Written by Louis Kernoa-Pascoe