Prevalence and characteristics of at-risk drinkers among elderly acute medical in-patients

Br J Addict. 1992 Feb;87(2):291-4. doi: 10.1111/j.1360-0443.1992.tb02703.x.


Three-hundred-and-twenty-seven male and 323 female medical and geriatric admissions over the age of 65 were interviewed about their drinking habits. Thirty (9%) of the men were found to drink in excess of the Royal College of Psychiatrists' recommended safety limits. The majority of these were lifelong heavy drinkers. Another 33 (10%) had previously drunk heavily over the age of 65, but had cut down, the majority spontaneously. Alcohol usage among women was less, although there was strong circumstantial evidence of heavy usage in a few. Twenty-five of the 30 men identified above as 'at risk' were interviewed in greater depth. These were compared with 25 age-matched light drinkers or non-drinkers. Forty-eight per cent of the men admitted to one or more alcohol related problem and if the admission diagnosis were included the number rose to 60%. The 'at risk' drinkers were significantly more likely to smoke, not to be married and to have some impairment of mobility.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Alcohol Drinking / adverse effects
  • Alcohol Drinking / epidemiology
  • Alcoholism / diagnosis
  • Alcoholism / epidemiology*
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • Hospitalization*
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Male
  • Risk Factors