Alcohol consumption peaks at 25, according to new study

beer bottlesA new study carried out by researchers from University College London and other universities in the UK has provided a better insight into the nation’s drinking habits.

Researchers involved in the study collated information extracted from nine different studies involving almost 60,000 people to see if or how alcohol intake alters over the course of a person’s lifetime. The data they looked at incorporated both men and women around the UK born in different eras, from a 34-year period – 1979 to 2013.

It was found that those in different age groups had varying drinking habits. Teenagers and those in their 20s tended to consume high amounts of alcohol, but rather infrequently, on only one or two occasions per week.

For men, alcohol consumption increased significantly in adolescence, reaching as high as 20 units consume each week by age 25 – this equates to about six pints of higher-strength lager, before then declining.

A pattern of drinking alcohol on a daily basis or on most days of the week was found to be more prevalent during mid-life to older age. A similar pattern was evident in women, but they tended to drink considerably less than their male counterparts (around seven to eight units a week).

By the age of 60, men were reportedly drinking an average of three to five drinks of beer each week, whilst by the age of 70, women reported consuming around one to two drinks a week.

The similar pattern across the sexes seems to be as follows: A fast increase in the volume of alcohol consumed during adolescent years that peaks in early adulthood, then a mid-life plateau, before a decline in the volume consumed in one sitting into older ages. However, as men age, the frequency of their alcohol intake goes up.

Dr Annie Britton, a senior lecturer in Epidemiology said: “Drinking once or twice a week was prevalent among adolescents and those in their twenties. Drinking only monthly or on special occasions was more common among women than men. I wasn’t shocked to see that alcohol volume changes over the life course, but the high proportion of older men drinking daily is a bit alarming. It raises concerns that they are becoming dependent on alcohol and there are risks in this age group mixing alcohol with medications.”

Although the study didn’t investigate factors related to these drinking habits, evidence from other research shows that people often reduce their alcohol consumption as they get older due to being worried about their health, weight issues or due to attending far fewer social occasions, according to Dr Britton.

The NHS states that men should avoid regularly consuming over 3-4 units of alcohol per day, whilst women should not regularly drink more than 2-3 units per day, and those that have had a particularly heavy drinking session should not drink alcohol for 48 hours.

Back in October of last year Medical Specialists® Pharmacy began to provide help to those with alcohol addiction through the alcohol dependency treatment Selincro (nalmefene), and have since been inundated with requests for the treatment.

Selincro is ideal for heavy drinkers that are not in need of immediate detoxification, and whom have a high level of alcohol consumption 2 weeks after the first consultation with the doctor. This is defined as more than 60g of alcohol per day for men or more than 40g of alcohol per day for women. The great news for those who are prescribed it is that there is no risk of becoming dependent on Selincro.

Selincro’s active ingredient nalmefene works by latching onto certain opioid receptors in the brain that are responsible for addictive behaviour, altering their activity, thereby decreasing the urge to continue drinking.

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