Binge drinking, then bingo?

I still remember the horrifying time I accidentally took a sip of “Grandpa’s juice.” It’s still a good reminder that your first taste of alcohol (I think it was probably whiskey?), before the conditioning that makes you more pliable and open to it, is downright disgusting.

My grandfather didn’t binge drink, though, and he eventually quit drinking entirely.

But apparently, this isn’t the case for a lot of older adults in the US. A new study in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society recently found that 10% of adults over 65 in the US binge drink regularly (in the last month).

We think of college as peak binge drinking time, but later in life, we imagine things calm down as our responsibilities increase.

In fact, however, older people may be more likely to feel bored, feel a lack of purpose, or feel socially isolated, all of which can encourage the same drinking behavior.

Binge drinking isn’t smart for anyone (just because very drunk people make very poor decision-makers). But binge drinking is a lot more dangerous as an older adult than a college-age partier. Here’s why:

  1. An older person may be more likely to be injured in a fail, and drunkenness makes us all more likely to trip and fall

  2. It’s more likely an older person will be on medication that interacts with alcohol

  3. An older adult may be more likely to have a chronic health condition that’s made worse by drinking, like a heart problem

We can imagine other reasons binge drinking may be rougher on a senior citizen. Maybe you have fewer friends to call or are alone if something goes wrong. Maybe you have a harder time recovering from the hangover the following day. But binge drinking poses a lot of risks, regardless of the drinker’s age.

If you’re looking to cut back or quit drinking, we’d love to help. Drinker’s Helper is an iOS app that provides motivational exercises, drink tracking so you can see progress and understand why you drink, and a support group so you can chat with peers who have similar drinking histories. We welcome anyone who wants to change their drinking, whether your goal is to cut back, stop binge drinking, or quit drinking entirely. Try it out today!