THURSDAY, Oct. 15, 2020 (HealthDay News) — For U.S. veterans with unhealthy alcohol use, reducing drinking may improve or resolve various conditions including pain interference symptoms and substance use, although most correlations are not significant, according to a study published online Oct. 8 in Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research.

Ellen C. Caniglia, Sc.D., from NYU School of Medicine in New York City, and colleagues examined longitudinal data from 2003 to 2015 in the Veterans Aging Cohort Study to examine the impact of reducing drinking among veterans with unhealthy alcohol use (AUDIT score ≥8). The odds ratio for improvement of each condition was examined among participants with moderate or severe pain interference symptoms, tobacco smoking, cannabis use, cocaine use, depressive symptoms, and anxiety symptoms.

The researchers found that for the associations between reducing drinking and improvement or resolution of each condition, the adjusted two-year odds ratios were 1.49 for pain interference symptoms, 1.57 for tobacco smoking, 1.65 for cannabis use, 1.83 for cocaine use, 1.11 for depressive symptoms, and 1.33 for anxiety symptoms.

“A causal interpretation of our findings is not warranted and we cannot conclude that reducing drinking improved certain co-occurring conditions,” the authors write.

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