An Alcohol Treatment Center in Arizona Reports on Baby Boomers’ Drinking Patterns
A recent survey conducted by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism revealed several alarming trends in Baby Boomers’ Drinking Patterns.
High-risk drinking increased almost 30 percent over the past decade and alcohol use disorder jumped a whopping 49.4 percent.
Around 40,000 adults participated in the study. There were increases across all demographic groups, but those among baby boomers were the most dramatic.
Baby Boomers and Alcohol Abuse
Adults born between 1946 and 1964 consume 45 percent of the nation’s alcohol supply. The number of boomers who engage in high-risk drinking shot up 65 percent in a decade. High-risk drinking is defined this way:
- For men, having five or more standard drinks per day, at least weekly, over the past year
- For women, having four or more standard drinks per day, at least weekly, over the past year
The NIAAA survey also revealed that 3 percent of older people have alcohol use disorder, which encompasses mild, moderate or severe abuse. Given that alcohol problems are compounded by dual diagnoses such as depression and anxiety, this is nothing short of a public mental health crisis.
If you’ve noticed a tendency to drink more as you age, you could be at risk for addiction, poor health and a shortened life expectancy.
Alcohol abuse is a challenging brain disease, but it’s not insurmountable. The more you know about it, the less likely you are to spiral into addiction. Keep reading to learn more and find out how you can get help at a top-rated alcohol treatment center in Arizona.
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Why Are Baby Boomers Drinking More?
The researchers couldn’t offer concrete reasons for the spike in late-life drinking, but some concluded that the Great Recession of 2007 played a role. Anxiety over long-term unemployment, foreclosure or bankruptcy may have tempted many Americans to drink more.
Some experts pointed out that people in their 60s and 70s are more active and healthy than in past generations. Boomers might think that they can continue drinking as they always have — or drink even more — without consequences. Nothing could be further from the truth.
In older people, every drink causes blood alcohol levels to rise higher than they would in younger drinkers. This is because people lose muscle mass as they grow older. An aging liver metabolizes alcohol more slowly. Aging brains are more sensitive to alcohol’s sedative properties.
In other words, alcohol’s effects are more pronounced in a 60-year-old than in a 40-year-old.
There may be a generational explanation for the spike in older-adult drinking. Many Americans who grew up during Prohibition embraced abstinence as a value and continued to let it guide them. Boomers came on the scene long after drinking became socially acceptable.
Some theorize that the popularity of wines and winery tours is partly to blame. It’s more common for people to stock up on wine and drink at home every night.
Are Baby Boomers Drinking Themselves Into Poor Health?
Alcohol exacerbates chronic diseases, such as high blood pressure and diabetes that could easily be managed with a healthy diet, frequent exercise and medication. It is strongly linked to higher risk of stroke, heart disease and several types of cancer.
Drinking is especially dangerous for people who take medication. Alcohol either interacts or interferes with hundreds of prescription drugs. Even conscientious people make a common mistake: thinking that it’s safe to have wine with dinner because they’ve completed the prescribed dosage for the day.
Medications are designed to work 24/7. At best, your pills simply won’t perform as well. At worst, the combination of pills and alcohol will wreak havoc in your system.
The health consequences of late-life drinking are starting to show up in statistics. Cardiovascular disease and stroke, which had long been on the decline as Americans became more health-conscious, are holding steady. Deaths from liver cirrhosis are on the rise for the first time since the ‘60s. Emergency room visits for alcohol-related falls and accidents have increased.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 88,000 deaths are attributed to excessive drinking every year. Around half of them are the result of binge-drinking. For women, binge-drinking is consuming at least four drinks in about two hours. For men, binging is having at least five drinks in two hours.
Alcohol Treatment Center Arizona
Some of your friends can have a drink or two now and then and suffer no ill consequences. They observe their limits. They don’t have cravings when they’re not drinking. They don’t feel like they have to lie about their alcohol consumption. If they decide to swear it off altogether, they can easily do it.
If you’re drinking more as you age, we’re glad that you’re reading. You will have less and less control as time goes on. It’s not about willpower; it’s about an insidious disease that takes even the most careful drinkers by surprise.
Contact Desert Cove Recovery today. Our caring, experienced staff can help you make the coming years the best of your life.