Older adults are drinking more alcohol

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Published: November, 2017

Heavy alcohol drinking, abuse, or dependence among older adults is rising at unprecedented rates, suggests a study published online Aug. 9, 2017, by JAMA Psychiatry. The authors analyzed information about alcohol use among 43,000 adults ages 18 or older during 2001–02 and then compared it with information about alcohol use among 36,000 adults during 2012–13. In virtually all age, race, and socioeconomic groups, high-risk drinking and alcohol abuse and dependence increased over the decade. Among all age groups, the increase tended to be greater in people who were less affluent, less well educated, and members of racial minority groups. Although during both time periods adults ages 65 and older had lower rates than younger people, the increase in high-risk drinking (65%) and alcohol abuse (107%) was greatest in this older age group.

The study authors emphasize that older adults are at higher risk for disability, illness, and death from many alcohol-related chronic diseases, falls, and injuries. Your best bet: if you drink alcohol, limit it to one drink per day if you're a woman, and one or two if you're a man.

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