Research Finds that Those Who are 65 Years and Older Binge Drink

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Binge Drinking Statistics

When you think of binge drinking you might think of those between the ages of 18 and 24 participating in this kind of behavior. And it is certainly true that young adults make up the largest percentage of the population who binge drink. However, according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), those who are 65 years of age and older are also binge drinking.

Binge drinking is defined as drinking four or more drinks during one event for females, and for male teens, binge drinking is consuming five or more drinks. According to the Center for Disease Control, 38 million people binge drink approximately 4 times per month and consume 8 drinks in one drinking period.

About 28% of those who binge drink are between the ages of 18 and 24. These young adults drink the most – up to nine drinks at a time in each drinking period. Yet, those who are 65 and over don’t necessarily drink the most in a drinking period. But they do binge drink the most often within a one month period. According to the CDC those who are 65 binge drink up to six times a month.

Dr. Robert Brewer, the Alcohol Program Lead at CDC’s National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, commented on the estimated number of those who binge drink by saying, “We know this to be a substantial underestimate of what actual binge drinking is, because people tend to under-report their drinking behavior.”

The Reality of Binge Drinking

Sadly, binge drinking accounts for more than 40,000 of the 80,000 alcohol-related deaths each year in the country. This can be related to alcohol-impaired driving, risky sexual behavior, and interpersonal violence. Of course, because binge drinking is a heavy form of drinking alcohol and as such there will be significant health concerns, especially for those who are elderly and already experiencing health problems.

For instance, heavy drinking can affect coordination, thiamine deficiency, and other forms of poor nutrition. Alcoholism can lead to illnesses having to do with the heart, such as hypertension and an irregular heartbeat. It can also cause impotence, irregular menstrual cycles, pancreatitis, stroke, confusion, and amnesia.

Other illness associated with chronic heavy drinking include cirrhosis, dementia, seizures, high blood pressure, nerve damage, alcohol poisoning, and heart disease.

The Impact on Your Mental Health

Furthermore, heavy drinking can also affect a person’s psychological health. And a person who is 65 years or older is already vulnerable to mental illness. Approximately, 10%-15% of those with alcoholism will attempt to take their life. And those who are successful in their suicide attempt tend to have positive alcohol levels in their blood stream.

Those who older may be already experiencing some form of mental illness because they’ve lost friends and family, retired and perhaps missing the fulfillment of their work, or experiencing physical pain.

Although binge drinking among the older population might be unexpected by some people, it is a sad reality. And it becoming a national health concern. If you or someone you know is drinking heavily, contact a mental health provider for support.



The Lakehouse Recovery Center is a residential drug rehab center in Westlake Village, CA. We provide drug detoxaddiction treatment, drug treatment aftercare, and relapse prevention. Connect with us on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram, or visit our blog for helpful addiction and recovery tips.

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