Binge drinking, as was always associated with the college youth, is now a growing epidemic among the baby boomers and older generations. A newly released study by Duke University Medical Center researchers has shown that out of tested 11,000 Americans, 23 percent of men aged 50 to 64 have admitted to binge drinking, along with 9 percent of women.
The same study revealed that 19 percent of men and 13 percent of women in the same age bracket engage in what is one step away from bingeing, or heavy and at-risk drinking.
What constitutes as binge drinking is having five or more drinks on one occasion, at least one day in the past month.
Research shows that having one glass of wine with dinner is quite normal and actually has health benefits in the long run. However, exceeding the normal amount has significant health complications, especially among the aging generations with weakening immune systems.“They might be at risk when driving, or it could affect anxiety or blood pressure medication. There are a number of possible health problems, and they are going to be at a greater risk,” said Dr. Dan Blazer, the lead researcher of the Duke Medical Center study, where he is a professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences.
“People need to know that sitting down and drinking five cocktails or seven or eight beers is not without consequence,” Blazer said. “It’s a condition that could fly under the radar, but it can lead to problems.”“We feel that our findings are important to the public health of middle-aged and elderly persons as they point to a potentially unrecognized problem that often ‘flies beneath’ the typical screen for alcohol problems in psychiatry practices.”
This study also revealed that men who reported binge drinking also had a higher risk of illegal drug use compared to men who drank but did not binge, while female binge drinkers had a heightened likelihood addiction to prescription drug abuse.