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Binge Drinking: Not for Kids Only

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More than one in five men ages 50-64 report consuming five or more alcoholic beverages at a single sitting within the past month, shattering the myth that binge drinking is strictly a problem for college students

USA Today reported Aug. 16 that Duke University researchers who analyzed the National Survey on Drug Use and Health found that 22 percent of older men and 9 percent of older women reported recent binge drinking. Among those over age 65, 14 percent of men and 3 percent of women reported binge drinking.

Also, the study found that many older Americans consumed enough alcohol on a daily basis to be classified as heavy drinkers by the American Geriatric Society — 19 percent of men and 13 percent of women said that they consumed two or more drinks each day.

Researcher Dan Blazer said that drinking patterns set during youth may continue into older age. “We typically think of binge drinking as something that occurs with young people such as college students, and here we have examples of older closet drinkers,” said Blazer. “Because we don't expect older people to binge-drink, this can be missed by a person's doctor because they are not asking.”

The findings were published online in the American Journal of Psychiatry.

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