Baby Boomers Lead Nationwide Surge In Drinking, Alcoholism, New Study Shows

Baby Boomers Lead Nationwide Surge In Drinking, Alcoholism, New Study Shows

Getting drunk early and often is an equal opportunity affliction, according to a new study, which shows alcoholism rising sharply across every demo of drinkers.

Whether they prefer moonshine or merlot, one out of every eight Americans has an alcohol disorder, according to a study published this week in the Journal of the American Medical Association’s Psychiatry publication.

Though some groups were more likely to abuse alcohol than others, the survey showed alcohol disorders “increased for the total US population and, with few exceptions, across sociodemographic subgroups.”

However, it found the sharpest increases were among women, poor people, minorities and the burgeoning population of older American alcoholics, the latter of whom skyrocketed a literally staggering 106.7 percent over a decade.

The study was based on two identical, face-to-face surveys of roughly 40,000 people 18 years and older in 2002–2003 and in 2012–2013.

Alcohol Vs. Opioids

“These increases constitute a public health crisis that may have been overshadowed by increases in much less prevalent substance use (marijuana, opiates, and heroin) during the same period,” wrote author Bridget F. Grant, an epidemiologist and biometrics expert at the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism.

“The results of this study call for a broader effort to address the individual, biological, environmental, and societal factors that influence” heavy drinking, which the study said costs the country $250 billion annually.

Related Link: Every Generation Has A New Drug: How People Are Dealing With The Opioid Crisis

Some of the findings (federal health officials use a complex set of markers for the following three categories, so Benzinga simplified them):

Alcohol Use (Casual Drinkers)

  • Overall, drinking booze jumped from 65.4 percent of Americans in the first study to 72.7 percent in 2012-2013, a relative percentage increase of 11.2 percent.
  • Women drinkers increased by 15.8 percent and ethnic minorities (depending on which ones) rose between 17.2 percent and 29.1 percent.
  • Adults 65 years and older who drank also rose higher than the national average, by 22.4 percent.

High-Risk Alcohol Use (4 Drinks For Women; 5 For Men)

  • Overall, the numbers went from 9.7 percent of the population in the earlier study to 12.6 percent, a rise of roughly 30 percent.
  • The number of women drinkers rose 57.9 percent, Hispanic drinkers rose 40.6 percent and African-American drinkers went up 62.4 percent.
  • People who were widowed, divorced or separate went up by 31.9 percent, while the number of people who stuck with their spouse shot up by 34.2 percent.
  • Americans 65 and older saw an age-appropriate increase of 65.2 percent.

Alcohol Use Disorders (Straight-Up Alcoholics)

  • Overall, people who would be considered alcoholics went from 8.5 percent of the population to 12.7 percent, a nearly 50 percent increase.
  • Women increased 83.7 percent, Hispanic drinkers went up 51.9 percent and African-Americans increased by 92.8 percent.
  • In a sign of the aging Baby Boomers hitting the bottle too hard, people 65 and older went up a whopping 106.7 percent.

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