International Alcoholism Journals

 In the UK alcohol consumption peaks in young adulthood and declines with increasing age (e.g. Meng et al., 2014). Reasons for decreasing consumption with age include an ageing effect (i.e. that people drink less as a result of physiological, biological and social changes that occur during chronological aging), cohort effects (i.e. that groups of people born at different times use alcohol differentially, with older cohorts typically consuming less alcohol), and the mortality hypothesis (i.e. that heavier drinkers die younger) (Stall, 1987; Pabst et al., 2012). Despite declines in alcohol consumption with increasing age, many older adults drink at a level that is considered hazardous or harmful to health. For example in England, 19.3% of adults aged 55–64 years, 14.1% of adults aged 65–74 years, and 10.5% of adults aged 75 years and older were considered hazardous or harmful drinkers when assessed using the Alcohol Use Disorders Identification Test (The NHS Information Centre, 2009). Drinkers may experience a range of acute and chronic health implications of their alcohol consumption, as well as social, financial and legal implications for both the individual and those around them (Corrao et al., 2004). Patterns of alcohol consumption that may be problematic include persistent drinking in excess of government guidelines (defined here as “excessive drinking”), binge drinking and dependent drinking.