Boomers are Drinking More than Past Generations

Troubling research reveals that older people are engaged in “high-risk” drinking more than ever – jumping 65 percent in a decade.  Alcohol use disorders also have doubled over the past decade.

What explains this increase in drinking and associated problems?  No one is sure, but these are possible explanations:

  • People in their 50’s and 60’s are in better shape than in past generations so they are continuing their drinking habits from earlier years. However, two drinks may cause greater impairment in a 70-year-old than a 50-year-old.
  • Alcohol can also worsen hypertension, heart disease, stroke, falls, liver cirrhosis, driving performance and other issues. These problems have gone up in older Americans.
  • Frequent lack of primary care screening for alcohol and sexually transmitted diseases in this age group.
  • After experiencing financial loss from being scammed on the phone or internet, people will often drink more because of the hardship and shame resulting from theft.
  • Metrics reveal that older adults are more likely than younger to remain in treatment and recovery – however, there is a problem getting them into treatment. If a post-hospital rehab program offers addiction treatment, it is highly successful for most older participants. Usually, older adults reveal no relapses during the first 30 days after treatment and half continue their recovery program in the form of 12-step and/or therapy.

The good news is that boomers do well in substance abuse treatment, but this depends on their physicians, loved ones, and friends looking for signs of drinking.

Enjoy the day.



Alcohol Abuse Among Older Americans Is Rising

By Paula Span, New York Times, Well, September 19, 2017

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