Substance Abuse Disorders

  • Ted D. Nirenberg
  • Edith S. Lisansky-Gomberg
  • Tony Cellucci
Part of the The Springer Series in Adult Development and Aging book series (SSAD)


In 1996, the first “baby boomers” turned fifty years of age. During the next two decades as the baby boomers enter their 60s there will be an inexorable increase in the elderly population. The proportion of people 65 years of age and older in the general population is now approximately 13%. While the percentage of older persons will clearly increase, the effect of this historical phenomenon on alcohol and drug consumption among the older persons in future years remains to be seen. Up to now, the data show that alcohol drinking in general, and heavy alcohol use in particular, declines with aging (Adams, Garry, Rhyne, Hunt, & Goodwin, 1990; Fillmore, 1987; Fillmore et al., 1991; Glynn, Bouchard, LoCastro, & Laird, 1985). There are differences within the older age group; for the “young elderly,” those 60 to 74, there are modest changes, with some investigators reporting an increase in alcohol consumption during those years (Glynn et al., 1985; Gordon & Kannel, 1983). Beyond the age of 75, the drop in alcohol intake is considerable, and there are fewer drinkers and fewer heavy drinkers in the older years. It is believed that this decrease relates to increasing health problems and to the increased proportion of women in older population subgroups. As is true throughout the life span, older women drink less and abuse alcohol less than do older men (E. S. L. Gomberg, 1995b). There are also geographic differences: the prevalence of alcohol abuse ranges among older persons from 1.5 percent in North Carolina to 3.7 percent in Baltimore (Helzer, Burnham, & McEvoy, 1991).


Substance Abuse Alcohol Abuse Heavy Drinking Alcohol Problem Problem Drinker 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1998

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ted D. Nirenberg
    • 1
    • 2
  • Edith S. Lisansky-Gomberg
    • 3
  • Tony Cellucci
    • 4
  1. 1.Department of Psychiatry and Human Behavior, and Center for Alcohol and Addiction StudiesBrown UniversityProvidenceUSA
  2. 2.Department of Emergency MedicineRhode Island HospitalProvidenceUSA
  3. 3.Alcohol Research Center, Department of PsychologyUniversity of MichiganAnn ArborUSA
  4. 4.Department of PsychologyFrancis Marion UniversityFlorenceUSA

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