Background: The associations of different patterns of alcohol consumption and the incidence and persistence of depressive and anxiety symptoms in older age remain unclear.
Methods: Data on 6095 adults aged ≥ 50 years old from the Irish Longitudinal Study on Aging (TILDA) was analyzed. Participants completed the CAGE instrument to screen for problematic alcohol use at baseline between October 2009 and February 2011. Outcomes were incident (assessed by the CES-D scale) and anxiety (assessed by the Hospital Anxiety and Depressive scale) symptoms after a two-year follow-up as well as persistence of probable depression and anxiety among those with a positive screen for those disorders at baseline. Associations were adjusted for potential confounders through multivariable models.
Results: In the overall sample, problem drinking did not predict incident and persistent depression and anxiety in this sample. Among females, problem drinking increased the risk for incident depression (OR = 2.11; 95%CI = 1.12-4.00) and anxiety (OR = 2.22; 95%CI = 1.01-4.86). In addition, problem drinking increased the risk of persistent depressive symptoms (OR = 2.43; 95%CI = 1.05-5.06) among females.
Conclusion: Problem drinking may increase the risk of incident probable depression and anxiety among older females. Furthermore, problem drinking led to a higher likelihood of persistent depressive symptoms in older female participants. Interventions targeting problem drinking among older females may prevent the onset and persistence of depression in this population, while also decreasing the incidence of anxiety symptoms.
Keywords: Alcohol use disorder; Anxiety; Depression; Older adults; Prospective study; Psychiatry.
Copyright © 2018. Published by Elsevier B.V.