Senior Citizens and Women Are at Higher Risk for Alcohol Abuse


According to recent study published in the Journal of American Medicine, alcohol abuse is on the rise in the United States, especially within two demographics – senior citizens and women.

After analyzing data from nearly 80,000 people between 2001-2002 and 2012-2013, researchers with the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism made some concerning findings.

Across the general population, rates of risky binge-drinking jumped almost 30%, while Alcohol Use Disorder diagnoses climbed by more than 49%.

But it the findings about the risk to specific demographics were of special concern.

Alcohol and Seniors

The analysis showed that risky drinking behaviors rose by two-thirds among American seniors. Abuse by older people is extremely dangerous, for a number of reasons.

FIRST, seniors generally take more prescription medications than other age groups, potentially leading to adverse drug interactions.

SECOND, the possibility of physical injury is greater. Dr. Bridget Grant says, ““We have found an increase in falls, injuries and unintended injury death rates in this age group. We know alcohol impairs people, and this will lead to more injuries among the elderly in particular.” Dr. Grant, who was the lead author of the study, also works as a senior epidemiologist at the NIAAA.

THIRD, the damage to health caused by is alcohol abuse is significantly magnified in seniors. For example, senior women who take just one daily drink may experience reduced heart function.

Alcohol and Women

The study revealed that binge-drinking by women spiked by almost 58%. This is problematic because alcohol has an exaggerated negative effect on women’s health.

  • Breast Cancer
  • Cirrhosis
  • Heart Damage
  • Multi-Generational Fetal Alcohol Syndrome
  • Peripheral Neuropathy
  • Psoriasis
  • Rosacea

One of the most demonstrable consequences of increased risky drinking among women is the recent wave of DUI charges. Between 1998 and 2007, for example, the number of DUI arrests among women in California went up by 30%.

For perspective, DUI arrests among California men went down by 7% during the same time period.

What Does This Mean?

For most people, their idea of the “typical” alcoholic would be a young or middle-aged man. This study shows that AUD can happen to absolutely ANYONE, regardless of age, race, gender, education, or income.

If you or one of your loved ones has a drinking problem, Chapman House Treatment Centers.  Since 1978, Chapman House has been the most-trusted drug and alcohol rehab program in Orange County. By using a variety of empirically-based treatment options, Lasting Chapman House can help you regain you safely regain your sobriety so you can return to the life you deserve.


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