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HealthPandemic Boosted Drinking Among Americans Over 50

Pandemic Boosted Drinking Among Americans Over 50

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By Robert Preidt
HealthDay Reporter

THURSDAY, June 10, 2021 (HealthDay News) — Drinking rose amongst older Americans through the worst of the COVID-19 pandemic, and that might put their well being in danger, declare researchers behind a brand new ballot.

“As we all toast the end of the worst part of the pandemic in our country, it’s important to address or prevent problematic drinking of all kinds,” stated one of many pollsters, Anne Fernandez, a University of Michigan psychologist who makes a speciality of finding out alcohol use.

More than 2,000 adults ages 50 to 80 have been questioned in late January, when COVID-19 case charges have been excessive nationwide and vaccination of older adults had simply begun.

About 14% of respondents who drink alcohol stated their consuming elevated through the first 10 months of the pandemic.

But the speed was a lot larger among the many minority who stated they drink as a part of their routine, to enhance their temper or to loosen up, or to deal with boredom, stress or pain, in keeping with the college’s National Poll on Healthy Aging.


A 3rd to half of these adults stated they drank extra previously 12 months. Those who reported feeling remoted or lonely have been additionally extra more likely to report will increase in consuming.

Half of the respondents stated they primarily drink for social causes, and so they have been extra more likely to say their consuming decreased in 2020. This means that as socializing will increase with the easing of the pandemic, their consuming might enhance, the ballot authors stated.

Overall, 23% of respondents who drink alcohol stated they routinely had three or extra drinks in a single sitting, and 10% stated they use different medication whereas consuming, together with marijuana or prescription medicines that may have dangerous interactions with alcohol.

Routinely having three or extra alcoholic drinks on any day, and occasional binge drinking, are each thought-about indicators of problematic consuming in any grownup, the researchers famous.

“Even before the pandemic, heavier and more risky drinking habits were increasing in older adults at a faster rate than among younger adults,” Fernandez stated in a college information launch.


“Not every older adult who drank more during the past year may have gone from non-risky to risky drinking, but the overall level of drinking, and the potential for interaction with other substances, is very concerning,” she stated.

The physique’s capacity to course of alcohol modifications with age, defined ballot director Dr. Preeti Malani, a Michigan Medicine infectious illness doctor additionally educated in geriatrics.

The identical quantity of alcohol that older adults consumed previously might have an effect on them in a different way now, leading to steadiness issues that might result in falls and different accidents. Also, long-term consuming can speed up age-related immune system decline and memory loss.

“We get especially concerned when older adults are drinking multiple drinks at a sitting, so the 20% of older men who said they drink three to four alcoholic drinks on a typical day of drinking is concerning,” Malani stated.

“And 27% of those who drink said that at least once in the past year, they had had six or more drinks — which is a ‘binge’ level of alcohol consumption that is risky at any age, but more so as we age,” Malani added.


More data

The U.S. National Institute on Aging has extra about aging and alcohol.

SOURCE: University of Michigan, information launch, June 9, 2021

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