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Int J Addict. 1995 Nov-Dec;30(13-14):1693-716.

Epidemiology of problem drinking among elderly people.

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Department of Internal Medicine, Medical College of Wisconsin, Milwaukee 53295-1000, USA.


The prevalence of alcohol use and misuse declines with age, but misuse remains an important public health problem among older people. Between 2 and 4% of the United States elderly population meet DSM-III criteria for "alcohol abuse" or dependence. Up to 10% are "heavy" or problem drinkers. Alcohol use and misuse are both more common among men than women. Since the elderly population is expanding, we will see an increase in the absolute number of older problem drinkers over the next few decades even if the prevalence of problem drinking remains constant. It is incumbent on health care providers and administrators to plan for the prevention and treatment of alcohol problems among these people.

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