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Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Baby Boomers and the Elderly have been Binge Drinking

Baby Boomers Elderly Binge Drinking

Binge drinking has always been considered a problem with teenagers and young adults, but, studies now show that this phenomena may not always be limited to the younger age groups. Researchers are finding that more and more baby boomers and even the elderly have been binge drinking. This trend goes relatively unnoticed because many people in those age groups do not tell anyone how much alcohol they are consuming; even doctors are misled by patients about the amount they drink and the way in which it is consumed. Duke University scientists, who researched and analyzed data of nearly 11,000 middle-aged and elderly adults from the 2005 and 2006 National Survey on Drug Use and Health, report in the American Journal of Psychiatry that:

* 14% of men and 3% of women 65 or older admit to binge drinking -- defined as quaffing five or more alcoholic beverages on a single occasion within the past 30 days.

* Among 50-64-year-olds, 23% of men and 9% of women admitted to binge drinking

* Bingeing and at-risk alcohol use was more common among people 50 to 64 than those in the older group.

* Among males, binge drinking was associated with higher income, being separated, divorced, or widowed while being unemployed.

* Among women, non-medical use of prescription drugs was associated with bingeing.

* Bingeing also was associated among all those studied with the use of tobacco and illicit drugs.

* Men in both groups are more likely than women to binge drink.

This trend indicates that as time goes on more baby boomers and elderly people will begin binge drinking, according to researchers studying problem drinking. Moreover, studies show that those who binge drink are 14 times more likely to get behind the wheel, as reported about Diane Schuler a mother who drove the wrong way on the Taconic Parkway killing herself and seven others. Her husband swears that Diane was not an alcoholic and that he never saw her drunk. But, when a mother of two gets in a car, drinks the equivalent of ten drinks and apparently smokes marijuana with her kids and her three nieces in the car, there must be a problem. Binge drinking is a clear sign that a person is in the grips of addiction and more times then not, help is necessary if this problem is to stop. There is no age restriction on being an alcoholic; the disease affects children as well as grandparents.

I encourage you to watch a short video that ABC did about this same problem, called Binge Drinking in Middle Age. It makes some interesting points and is worth watching. Please send me your thoughts on the subject.

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