October 20

Is There A Link Between Intelligence And Alcohol Addiction?

The Connection Between Intelligence And Alcohol

Benefits of Not Drinking AlcoholThank you to Iris on Quora for the question… is there a link between intelligence and alcohol?

I have a very hands-on relationship with the members of my online stop drinking program. I can say that over the years and considering the thousands of problem drinkers I have met. Not once have I concluded that they are just ‘stupid’.

In my experience, alcohol use disorders seem to be most common among the more highly intelligent of society. I meet people who are otherwise highly successful and effective in their lives. However, alcohol is pulling them down and has a vice-like hold over them.

It turns out my gut feeling on this question of intelligence and alcohol has some scientific weight behind it. New research studies reveal there may be a positive connection between intellect and booze consumption.

Look Who’s Talking

Alcohol is a curious compound to us and because the grown-ups around us act like it is a special treat only for them. This makes us even more inquisitive about this apparently magical liquid.

Research has revealed that the faster you learn to talk, the sooner you will want to consume alcohol.

Nordic analysts compiled details on 3,000 fraternal and identical twins. They discovered that the sibling who was the first to speak also tended to be the very first to try drinking. The same twin went on to consume alcohol more profoundly during the teenage years.

Spoken development may be associated with general intellect and social confidence. The verbally intelligent twin additionally had, on average, more close friends. This led to a wider social circle and therefore might be more likely to end up in sociable situations where alcohol is on offer.

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Quitting Alcohol Is A Great Decision

Curiosity Killed The Cat

An earlier talking age is also associated with better scholastic efficacy through mid and secondary school and a higher possibility of graduating from university. Attaining better degrees of education is also correlated with higher alcohol intake. But why?

I can only surmise that intellect is associated with curiosity and a desire for new experiences.

“Intellectual performance and reading abilities in adolescence relate to more stimulation-seeking habits.”

We Are Not Evolved Enough For Booze

According to a Communication Theory posited by evolutionary psychologist Dr Kanazawa. Human awareness has trouble dealing with situations that did not exist in the Pleistocene ecosystem we developed in.

However, some lower IQ human brains have more trouble than others.

“Our gray matter has trouble understanding and dealing with entities and situations that did not prevail in our formative ancestral environment. General human intelligence evolved to solve evolutionarily unique challenges.”

DNA & Alcohol Addiction

Alcohol consumption is “evolutionarily new” humans started cultivating and consuming alcohol only about 13,000 yrs back. This model would, therefore, predict a connection between intellect and alcohol addiction.

When Kanazawa analyzed data on British youngsters, he discovered that same connection. Drawing on the results of the Nationwide Child Development Report, which tracked for 55 years all English babies delivered in the course of one week in the spring of 1958.

Kanazawa found that children who scored higher on Intelligence Tests matured to generally consume larger amounts of booze. Plus, they did so on a more regular basis than their less-educated friends and family.

Alcohol And Depression
Alcohol And Depression

Early Intelligence Increases Risk

He assessed other factors, incorporating religion, faith, social class, mothers and fathers’ education and learning and self-reported fulfilment with life.

He found that being labelled ‘clever’ prior to age 15 was second only to sex in predicting alcohol use in later life.

In Kanazawa’s system, illicit substances constitute another evolutionarily unique adventure for the naturally curious. He also found a link between high INTELLIGENCE and alcohol. But also a desire to experiment with other narcotics too.

In Kanazawa’s investigation, the higher a respondent’s IQ before age 15, the more psychedelic compounds she or he had tried by age 45.

IQ Tests Can Predict Alcohol Use

Another study found that 35-year-old women who had gained high scores on an IQ test at age 5 were twice as likely to have smoked marijuana or made use of coke in the prior calendar year.

Meanwhile, men who had scored highly on an Intelligence Test as children were 52 percent more likely to have recently used speed, amphetamines or other mind-altering drugs.

Intelligence And Wine Go Together

A study that reviewed 1,900 European men’s Intelligence Quotient scores. Researchers compared their test results to their alcohol consumption patterns from the 1950s through 1990s.

They found a solid correlation in between high INTELLIGENCE in young maturity and a preference for wine over lager/ale later in life.

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Beat alcohol cravings

No matter socioeconomic standing.

Intelligence And AlcoholVery few respondents, below 1 percentage point preferred spirits. This preference was unrelated to IQ.

Twenty-three percent of men who were arranged into the greatest of 5 INTELLIGENCE classifications at age 17 preferred wine in their 30s. Compared to 10 percent of the males grouped in the lowest IQ category.

By their 40s, the differences were much more obvious: 40 percent of the guys with the highest Intelligence quotients, but just 14 percent of those with the lowest, favored wine over beer.

According to the report, “in the primarily beer-drinking European populace … red or white wine drinking has traditionally signified high social status.”

A PhD. In Alcoholism

Researchers at the London School of Business economics analyzed information on hundreds of British men and women in their 30s. They found an effective connection between educational attainment and daily alcohol consumption.

The relationship between intelligence and alcohol was even sturdier for females. Women who had graduated from university were 85 percent more likely than those who had not finished secondary school to admit to drinking on the majority of days.

Alcohol and intelligence
Alcohol and intelligence

It’s More Nurture Than Nature

free quit drinking bookThe danger here is to take some sort of comfort from the research. To somehow see your drinking problem as a good thing, as a sign of high intelligence.

This is a bit like adding 2+2 and coming up with 5 as the answer.

It’s not that you were born intelligent and therefore your alcoholism is not your fault. This is not a license to continue abusing alcohol.

If you were well educated then you were probably exposed to more environments that involved alcohol.

I am pretty sure that one of the most learned subjects at any university is drinking!

Alcoholism Is A Learned Addiction

The fact is, alcohol is a learned addiction. The sooner you get started, the quicker you will sink into the quicksand.

In summary, yes there is a link between intelligence and alcohol but it’s perhaps not the compliment you were hoping for.

Problems with alcohol never get better on their own. If you are worried about your drinking, now is the moment to do something about it. Click here for more information on the Stop Drinking Expert.

 


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  1. I just think that more intelligent people have more going on their head, and therefore find alcohol a perfect way to manage the restless mind. It is a perfect substance when used in moderation for this purpose. The only problem is that when it stops working, and it will, it starts to become the source of more problems that require more drinking to overcome. It spirals out of control until either death or recovery. I have also found that you cannot tell a person that they on a spiral downwards and need help. They need to hit their bottom so that they can rise up and recover. I think that the compassion of society today is to try and take care of addicted individual, but in the process never letting them hit that bottom. This artificially prolongs the addiction. A person that does not decide on their own to seek recovery rarely recovers at the behest of another do-gooder.

  2. Interesting and very comprehensive analysis. Has your research since this article uncovered any new findings? Alcoholism is a very complex disease. And that's coming from a "true" alcoholic that has spent the last 12 years in cancer research and drug development, during which I launched 4 successful companies. I was sober all of those years with 13+ years of long term sobriety after 20+ years of borderline death defying alcohol abuse during which all experts informed me and my family I was a hopeless case.

    My sobriety date was 3undefined7undefined07, the day after getting out of prison. A true miracle and the greatest achievement of my life. There is research identifying the most likely genetic mutations and even specific loci that "real" alcoholics share. This genetic mutation might explain how alcoholics metabolize acetylcholine and the resulting biochemical reaction which delivers a euphoria that is so powerful we chase it to the bitter end. It is indescribable to non-alcoholics which explains why AA is the true solution.

    I believe my IQ is extremely high based on what has been eluded to by my parents. It seems accurate based on my very high grades throughout all school years doing minimal work & studying. In fact, quite the opposite, I got in trouble in most classes (bored) but still always achieved straight A's. And I was a 3 season varsity athlete.

    I don't know where I'm going with all this banter, but thought I'd share my thoughts. I suspect there may be a link between the genetic mutation I described and intelligence. Just my personal theory.

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