Figures spark concerns about drinking among over 55s

Residents are being urged to look after their mental and physical health during the pandemic.

Thursday, 6th May 2021, 9:00 am
Sue Taylor, Acting Head of Alcohol Policy for Balance.

Officials at Balance, the North East Alcohol Office, says a worrying new study has revealed drinking has worsened among many over 55s during the pandemic.

The study by psychiatrists from King’s College London has highlighted how pandemic drinking has escalated especially among those aged 55 to 74.

The study follows figures released by NHS Digital which showed that there were 773,523 alcohol-related admissions between April and December last year, with three quarters of these (587,501) involving patients over the age of 50.

Sue Taylor, Acting Head of Alcohol Policy for Balance, said: “These latest findings are extremely worrying – alcohol is never a good way to cope but can make things worse.

“Before lockdown we saw that middle aged people were actually more likely than younger people to be exceeding the weekly limits, but rising consumption now could be tipping heavy drinking over into dependency for some people.

“An even greater concern is that it appears to be those people who were already drinking the most who are now drinking more, potentially putting their health at even greater risk of a range of alcohol related conditions.

She said: “Whether or not you’ve felt your drinking creeping up during lockdown, now is a really important time to be looking after ourselves and our families, and that includes trying to stick within the Chief Medical Officer guidelines of drinking no more than 14 units per week.”