We are young, we are free, we got teeth nice and clean and while the freshness of our youth unfolds, we only think about two things: how to enjoy our lives and how to build a life. Some of us indulge in hedonistic pleasures and take advantage of their youth years that don’t require huge amounts of responsibility, while others are busy making plans for the future. The future can sound and be bright if we take our time to come up with ideas that could open the path to success.
A new study performed by a team of researchers in London states that people who are in their 50’s and are “successful agers” are more at risk of harmful drinking compared to their less successful peers. Seemingly, harmful drinking is a “middle class phenomenon”, explained as a delicate and hidden social problem in career driven people.
Although harmful drinking is not linked to feelings of loneliness, depression and anguish, it is highly popular among men living on their own, namely those separated or divorced. We face a little paradox here, as divorce and separation are linked to feelings of loneliness, depression and anguish. Living on our own, with all that independent living requires doesn’t take away the anguish of loneliness. A good drink can make us forget about hard times, a second one can make us feel better about ourselves, a third one can drive us to euphoria, while the forth one already leads us to the comfortable feeling of forgetfulness.
Harmful drinking is closely related to hard work, successful careers and middle and high class individuals. Experts defined it as a “wealthy” lifestyle thing among both men and women with great careers. The team of researchers got into analyzing the social habits of more than 9000 people who took part in the English Longitudinal Survey of Ageing. The participants were required to ask questions linked to their exercising, diet and drinking routines. Study subjects had to answer a questionnaire about their marital status, depression employment status, religious beliefs, income and education as well, for a clear overview on the matter.
Higher risk drinking was of main interest for the research team. Drinking habits become “risky”, according to the experts, when men take more than 50 units of alcohol per week and women enjoy themselves with more than 35 units. Three units are defined as a glass of wine or beer. High risk drinking is the equivalent of 17-25 glasses a week for men and 12-17 glasses for women.
The analysis revealed that harmful drinking peaked for men around age 60. For women, the peak is reached at 50 and then fells off over the next decades of life. Higher risk drinkers are people in otherwise better health, higher income, more education and fruitful social life.
The reasons why successful people relate to heavy drinking are yet unknown, as loneliness and depression are paradoxically out of question. The lead author of the study, Jose Iparraguirre, declared that “it may be because the public health message about the risks of heavy drinking isn’t reaching this group of people.”
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