Are alcoholism and alcohol abuse significantly greater problems in the adult population over age 65 than that under age 65?
No. There is no substantial support for this idea. A growing body of evidence suggests that, although the majority of older adults are not abstinent, the frequency and quantity of alcohol consumed tends to decrease with age. This is at least partially explained by changing patterns of sociability with age, age-related health problems, and complications associated with alcohol interacting with prescribed medications. Problems with drinking later in life appear usually to be a continuation of drinking patterns established in the earlier adult years and not with late-onset drinking. Therapeutic intervention is at least as effective with older adults as with adults generally.
Linda Breytspraak, Center on Aging Studies, University of Missouri-Kansas City
Last update: Tuesday, March 14, 2006