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Age-Related Patterns of Alcoholism Among Veterans in Ambulatory Care
Kathryn Magruder-Habib; Constance Corley Saltz; Patricia M. Barron
Psychiatric Services 1986; doi:
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The Department of Community and Family Medicine at Duke University Medical Center in Durham, North Carolina 27705

The Department of Psychiatry at Duke University Medical Center

The Department of Family Medicine at the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill

1986 American Psychiatric Association

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Abstract

In a survey of 342 outpatients in two urban Veterans Administration medical centers, 10.2 percent of the patients aged 65 and over and 8.4 percent of those aged 55 to 64 were found to be alcoholic on the Veterans Alcoholism Screening Test. The younger age groups (under age 35, age 35 to 44, and age 45 to 54) were two and a half to three times more likely to be alcoholic than the 65-and-over group. The oldest group was most likely to have never been alcoholic, and least likely to have been formerly alcoholic. Although several authors have proposed that the elderly may increase their intake of alcohol in response to the stresses of aging, study data indicated that half of the 65-and-over alcoholics were longstanding alcoholics. However, while the study suggests that the older groups have proportionately fewer alcoholics, the growing size of the aging population means that in the next few decades there will be greater absolute numbers of elderly chronic alcoholics.

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