Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Older problem drinkers use more alcohol than do their younger counterparts

Date:
November 21, 2009
Source:
Ohio State University
Summary:
Older adults who have alcohol dependence problems drink significantly more than do younger adults who have similar problems, a new study has found. The findings suggest that older problem drinkers may have developed a tolerance for alcohol and need to drink even more than younger abusers to achieve the effects they seek.

Older adults who have alcohol dependence problems drink significantly more than do younger adults who have similar problems, a new study has found.

The findings suggest that older problem drinkers may have developed a tolerance for alcohol and need to drink even more than younger abusers to achieve the effects they seek.

Researchers at Ohio State University found that adults over age 60 who have alcohol dependence drink more than 40 alcoholic drinks a week on average, compared to between 25 and 35 drinks a week on average for those in younger age groups with similar problems.

In addition, older people with alcohol dependence have more binge drinking episodes per month than do their younger counterparts.

"A combination of high levels of drinking and the physiological effects of aging are particularly problematic for older adults," said Linda Ginzer, co-author of the study and a doctoral student in social work at Ohio State.

Ginzer, who conducted the research as part of her dissertation, did the study with Virginia Richardson, professor of social work at Ohio State.

They presented their results November 20 in Atlanta at a meeting of the Gerontological Society of America.

The researchers used data collected in the National Epidemiologic Survey on Alcohol and Related Conditions. This was a national survey of more than 43,000 people collected in 2000-01 under the direction of the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism.

Research has shown that Americans generally tend to drink less alcohol as they age. But these findings suggest that for certain groups of older adults -- those with alcohol problems -- alcohol use actually increases, Ginzer said.

For this study, the researchers used the survey results to classify heavy drinkers by age categories.

Two categories were of particular interest to the researchers. Those in the alcohol abuse category were those who showed mainly social-related problems related to their alcohol use, including legal issues, and engaging in physically hazardous activities such as driving after drinking. Those in the alcohol dependence category showed evidence of physiological problems related to their alcohol use, such as increasing drinking and continued use even after physical or psychological problems were apparent.

While adults over age 60 were less likely than other groups to be in the abuse or dependence categories, those who were in those categories tended to have higher drinking levels than did younger problem drinkers.

For one, older problem drinkers drank more each week than did others. In addition, older people in the dependence category had significantly more alcohol binges each month than did younger people in the same category. Binges were defined as men having five or more drinks in a day, or women having four or more drinks in a day.

Those over age 60 in the alcohol dependence category averaged 19 binges per month, while younger age groups in the same category averaged 13 to 15 monthly binges.

"More often than not, we think of binge drinking as occurring among college students or those in their 20s," Richardson said.

"But the fact is, binge drinking occurs among older people as well, and it is in fact worse among those who have problems with alcohol. It is something that clinicians and researchers need to consider."

Overall, binge drinking was greater among all adults who were in the alcohol abuse category than it was among other adults who reported drinking seven or more drinks a week, but did not fall into the problem categories.

"That suggests binge drinking may be a better measure of problem drinking than just the total amount of drinks someone has per week," Ginzer said.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Ohio State University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Ohio State University. "Older problem drinkers use more alcohol than do their younger counterparts." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 21 November 2009. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/11/091120124831.htm>.
Ohio State University. (2009, November 21). Older problem drinkers use more alcohol than do their younger counterparts. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 19, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/11/091120124831.htm
Ohio State University. "Older problem drinkers use more alcohol than do their younger counterparts." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/11/091120124831.htm (accessed April 19, 2014).

Share This



More Mind & Brain News

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Study On Artists' Brain Shows They're 'Structurally Unique'

Study On Artists' Brain Shows They're 'Structurally Unique'

Newsy (Apr. 17, 2014) The brains of artists aren't really left-brain or right-brain, but rather have extra neural matter in visual and motor control areas. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Is Apathy A Sign Of A Shrinking Brain?

Is Apathy A Sign Of A Shrinking Brain?

Newsy (Apr. 17, 2014) A recent study links apathetic feelings to a smaller brain. Researchers say the results indicate a need for apathy screening for at-risk seniors. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Are School Dress Codes Too Strict?

Are School Dress Codes Too Strict?

AP (Apr. 16, 2014) Pushing the limits on style and self-expression is a rite of passage for teens and even younger kids. How far should schools go with their dress codes? The courts have sided with schools in an era when school safety is paramount. (April 16) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Could Even Casual Marijuana Use Alter Your Brain?

Could Even Casual Marijuana Use Alter Your Brain?

Newsy (Apr. 16, 2014) A new study conducted by researchers at Northwestern and Harvard suggests even casual marijuana use can alter your brain. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins