August 18, 2009

Binge drinking and boomers

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Are you 50 to 64 years old?  Do you consider yourself a binge drinker?

No?

Have you had more than four or five drinks in a single sitting in the past thirty days?

No?  Not two glasses of wine and two beers on your neighbor’s couch? 

Among that age group, a new American Journal of Psychiatry study found that nearly one in four men and nearly one in ten women have abused alcohol through binge drinking in the past month.  Binge drinking is defined as downing more than 4 or 5 drinks in a two-hour sitting for women and men, respectively.

The health problems associated with binge drinking are serious — especially in a population whose prescription drug use is widespread and growing.  Combining alcohol with the cocktail of pills used to fight the aches and pains of age is a recipe for liver damage.

The study serves as a wakeup call to those baby boomers careening toward senior citizenship without a true understanding of the scope of their drinking. 

The researchers hope doctors will begin to ask pointed questions about alcohol use rather than letting potential abuse float by.

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