Alcohol and Mid Life Crisis
Drinking patterns and alcohol problems change with age. Some people don’t even begin to abuse alcohol until they are middle aged or older. Although most people who start abusing alcohol in middle age have had previous experience with alcohol, they don’t meet the criteria for alcohol use disorders until they are between the ages of 50 and 64. A lot of this is likely due to the connection between alcohol and midlife crisis.
Alcohol and Mid Life Crisis: What is a midlife crisis?
Midlife crisis is a term that has come to mean a time where adults come to grips with their own mortality. Sometimes, midlife crisis comes simply when someone realizes that half their time on earth may be other. Other times, the crisis is triggered by transitions experienced in those years including hormonal changes, death of parents, unemployment, or children leaving home.
One of the main characteristics of a midlife crisis is seeing their life in a negative way and their health and enjoyment declining. Abuse of alcohol is a very common behavior in people who are experiencing a midlife crisis. Many people in middle age are overwhelmed by the amount of responsibility on their shoulders. They may be responsible for aging parents, children, paying a mortgage, and their own relationship with a spouse.
Alcohol and Mid Life Crisis: Substance Abuse and Mid-life Crisis
A midlife crisis can cause feelings of depression and anxiety. Many people will turn to alcohol or drug abuse in an effort to cope. They will use substance abuse as a means of escape or self-medication. Middle aged men and women are also more able to hide their substance abuse and maintain a level of function. This can allow addiction and/or alcoholism to progress without accountability.
Alcohol and Mid Life Crisis: How prevalent is it?
A recent study indicates that 23 percent of men and nine percent of women between ages 50 and 64 years old reported drinking at least five alcoholic beverages in one day-which is defined as binge drinking. Also, middle aged men and women were more likely than adolescents in their teens and twenties to report drinking every day.
Alcohol and Mid Life Crisis: Who is at risk?
The typical middle aged alcoholic is actually what’s known as a “functional alcoholic.” Most are highly educated and have careers. The decline may be slow and hard to notice at first. In addition, many middle aged alcoholics have what is known as a dual diagnosis. This means that they are suffering from other psychological problem like anxiety or depression as well as having a substance abuse disorder.
Alcohol and Mid Life Crisis: Health problems
Middle aged drinkers are much more susceptible to the adverse health effects of alcohol abuse than younger drinkers. The health costs due to alcohol consumption are mainly due to middle aged, middle class drinkers. On average, alcohol-related health problems among middle aged people are 13 times more costly than those of people in their early to mid-twenties.