If you’re one of the millions of baby boomers who believe that your grandchildren are likely drinking much more than you did when you were that age (after all, the health headlines routinely scream about binge drinking among the young, especially those in college and university), you’ll be happy to find out that for a change you are probably right because a recent study from the US and published in JAMA Psychiatry found that heavy (and a clearly very unhealthy form of) drinking – defined as having 4 or more drinks at one sitting – has increased over the last decade among millenials by about 15 %.
But, hold tight to yer shot glass, grandpa, because in the same period, among people 65 and up, this survey found that heavy drinking has increased by a whopping 65 %, and that’s really bad news because the older you get, the more likely it is that you can suffer some of the many potential complications of steady alcohol intake such as, for example, a clearly higher risk of many cancers.
As usual, this survey did not set out to find out why boomers are imbibing so much more than they once used to but the researchers surmise that it’s probably mostly to do with the economy, job displacement, etc, in other words, like in every study in which some Major Strasser has been shot, the authorities round up the usual suspects.
I have a different theory, however.
I think it’s more likely that so many boomers drink heavily because
1) many of us can afford to drink as much as we like and a good bottle of wine imbibed tonight seems a better way to dip into our bank deposit than to leave it to our inheritors who will most likely drink up a lot of their inheritance anyway,
2) boomers have bought the idea that since moderate amounts of alcohol may be good for us, in typical boomer fashion, many boomers have then gone way over-board so that they’ve stretched a potentially healthy 1-2 glasses of wine a day into an even-more healthy 4 glasses a day, and
3) we boomers are at an age when we have to acknowledge the shape of the world we’ve left our kids and grandkids, and maybe the only way to soothe our guilt is to blot out our thoughts every so often.
Anyway, that’s my theory and like Monty Python’s Anne Elk, I am sticking to it.