Research has shown that moderate alcohol consumption can provide physical and mental health benefits in adults of all ages. But a new report from the The Royal College of Psychiatrists of London has some experts worried about the new recommendations. The report was designed to provide information and statistical guidelines for mental health and medical professionals, to use when determining if an elderly client is at risk for adverse effects from misuse of alcohol. Because the report does not take into consideration specific age groups or health conditions, and the only criteria for participating in the study was that a person must be over age 65, the recommendations in the report may be misconstrued and can provide more harm than good, according to the reviewers at the The International Forum on Alcohol Research.
The report did not address the benefit that moderate alcohol consumption can have on coronary heart disease, diabetes, dementia, osteoporosis or stroke. The reviewers fear that healthy moderate drinkers in this age group may decrease or stop their consumption altogether, thus reducing the preventive measures they are currently taking. Additionally, the reviewers note that as people age, their risk for coronary problems increases dramatically and this segment of the population needs the benefits of light drinking more than any other segment. Recent research has begun to appear that shows moderate drinking can also help protect people from the onset of Alzheimer’s and dementia, decreasing their chances of developing these illnesses by as much as 50%. A similar link has been found with moderate alcohol use and other neurological disorders, such as Parkinson’s disease. The reviewers point out that there is even evidence that moderate drinking can increase the life span of men and women by several years. They emphasize that the recommendations in the report may not be in the best interest of every person.
© Copyright 2011 by By Noah Rubinstein, LMFT, LMHC, therapist in Olympia, Washington. All Rights Reserved. Permission to publish granted to GoodTherapy.org.
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