Last week, we discussed the SAMHSA study on baby boomers’ drug use. Now comes the news that binge drinking is also particularly prevalent in baby boomers.
In a recent LA Times blog post, it was reported that hard drinking is no longer a game for the young, as shown in a recent study published in The American Journal of Psychiatry. They have found that approximately 25% of US men and nearly 10% of US women aged 50-64 years old participated in “binge drinking”.
‘Binge drinking’ was defined as imbibing at least 4 to 5 servings of alcohol in a two-hour sitting in the last 30 days.
This segment of binge drinkers was also found to be more likely to use tobacco and illicit drugs. Of the women surveyed, binge drinking was more common in the employed and those already abusing prescription medications (using prescription medications for non-medical use). Binge drinker males were more likely to be unmarried and with a higher income bracket.
Authors of the study suggest that doctors should be asking more pointed questions about alcohol use, especially as this behavior poses an increasingly more serious health risk with age, as well as mental health risks. Binge drinking, although no less serious, seems to fall under the standards of alcohol-disorder screens.
It remains unknown, as this is not a lifetime study, whether this group ever moderated their drinking or if this is a lifelong-using pattern. It was, however, found in a 2000 national survey that 67% of baby boomers who drank, did so in levels that exceeded moderation.
Again, this study fails to address questions of addiction and addiction treatment options.