Drinkers of the Middle Class – Beware

by: Mike Miller

A study has found that middle-class drinkers are at a greater risk of dying from alcohol, as they get older, than lower-income groups.  The study proposes this is because they do not realize that they are drinking to excess.  FYI – this study occurred in India.

Official figures showed the risk of drinking among all socio-economic groups rises until middle age, but death rates among people on lower incomes peak in middle age, at which point the chances of dying begin to decrease.

Figures published by the Office for National Statistics showed that death rate among the most advantaged classes, such as lawyers and company bosses, rose steadily from 9.8 deaths per 100,000 men aged 45-49, to 23.5 deaths aged 60 to 64.

In contrast people in "routine" jobs such as van drivers and sewing machinists were at the greatest risk in middle age, with the death rate peaking at 52.2 per 100,000 men aged 50-54, and declining afterwards to a rate of 41.1 for those aged 60-64.

"While young people may be going out and drinking to excess on weekends, that pattern starts to tail off later in life," the Telegraph quoted Prof Michael Marmot, professor of epidemiology and public health at University College London, as saying.

"Some people will drink nine units a night and think that is moderate consumption because they are not going out and getting plastered, but in terms of their liver that is a harmful level of drinking."

"A more subtle pattern of heavy drinking, which the individual does not realise constitutes heavy drinking, may have a more prolonged effect. Both sorts of drinking are harmful but they cause different sorts of harm," he said.

The study was based on figures on alcohol-related deaths, including alcoholic liver disease, fibrosis and cirrhosis of the liver, mental disorders due to alcohol use and accidental alcohol poisoning, between 2001 to 2003.

Alcohol abuse is a serious problem.  If you or someone you know is suffering from alcoholism I urge you to seek help.  If you prefer to maintain complete anonymity there are online alcohol awareness classes available as well.