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Experts warn that harmful drinking is a middle class phenomenon

For a very long time, heavy drinking and binge drinking has been associated with teenagers and the lower classes. However, experts have sent out a stark warning that it’s the wealthy over-50s who are doing the most damage to their health by drinking far too much.

Adding to this concern is the fact that it is a hidden health and social problem, because on the outside, most wealthy middle-class people appear to be fit and healthy because they eat well and exercise regularly. However, they are far more likely to drink too much compared to their less successful peers, but the damage goes unnoticed because they are well presented.

65% increase in women being treated for alcohol problems

The research found that the risk of harmful drinking peaked for men in their early 60s and then gradually tailed off. Amongst women, it was found that those on high salaries and those who had retired were more likely to drink heavily. Government figures showed an incredible 65% increase in the number of women over pension age beginning treatment for alcohol-related problems in the last five years in the UK.

Interestingly, the leaders of the study found that there was no link between heavy drinking and feeling lonely and depressed. However, men who lived on their own were more likely to consume harmful amounts of alcohol.

Age UK’s chief economist, Professor Jose Iparraguirre, commented:

“Our analysis challenges popular perceptions of who is drinking too much. It suggests that public health messaging is not reaching high income groups who are most at risk. Because this group is typically healthier than other parts of the older population, they might not realise that what they are doing is putting their health in danger.”

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