Binge drinking, new trend in middle-aged adults

By Sara Story - email
Posted by Ellen Krafve - email

TYLER, TX (KLTV) - Binge drinking. It is a trend, once thought to be linked only to young party animals. Now, it may be a new, middle-age crisis according to a study released Monday.

"I think it is more prevalent than we might have anticipated," said Dr. Scott Lieberman, a cardiologist.

Duke University's research was based on a survey of 11,000 men and women between the ages of 50 to 64. It found that 22% of men and 9% of women engaged in binge drinking within the past month of the survey.

Dr. Lieberman says drinking five or more drinks at a time is considered binge drinking and, while it is dangerous for everyone, it carries unique risks for older folks.

"A strong toxic response can create a stress on the system so people at risk for heart disease may experience a heart attack," said Lieberman. "People at risk for stroke are maybe more likely to have a stroke because of binge drinking.

Another thing to consider is the medication you take and how it will mix with alcohol.

"They may have existing hypertension," said Lieberman. "Binge drinking will exacerbate the hypertensive effects. It may minimize the useful benefits of their medication."

While some sympathize with this concern, other baby boomers don't see a problem.

"With the economy like it is [and] finances like they are, it doesn't really surprise me much," said Melissa Norris.

"It gives me pause to think that there are people in that age group who are actually indulging themselves that way," said Meriam Eakin.

No matter who is indulging, doctors say that one or two drinks a night should be the limit.

The study also found binge drinking in people over the age of 65. 17% of those surveyed were binge drinkers.

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