Wednesday, 22 June 2011

Drink less and live longer

The latest piece of foaming anti-drink hysteria is a report from the Royal College of Psychiatrists which says that the already made-up and absurdly low alcohol consumption guidelines should be “drastically reduced” for people over 65. They should drink only 1.5 “units” of alcohol a day, the equivalent of half a pint of beer or a small glass of wine. I’m sure that’s going to soothe the cares of the world away. Leave off that 500ml bottle of Pedigree, it’s far too much for you! You’ll have that 2% Tesco Value Bitter and enjoy it!
A group of experts from the Royal College of Psychiatrists says there is a growing problem with substance abuse among older people, who they describe as society's "invisible addicts".

The report says a third those who experience problems with alcohol abuse do so later on in life, often as a result of big changes like retirement, bereavement or feelings of boredom, loneliness and depression.

But the extent of the drinking is hidden because unlike younger drinkers, more older people drink in their own homes, the report suggests.

The problem is exacerbated by the widespread use - and misuse - of prescribed and over-the-counter medicines among elderly people which can interact badly with alcohol.

Compounding the problems are the changes our bodies undergo as we get older which mean we are less able to cope with the effects of alcohol.

If it’s a “hidden” problem, in what way is it a problem at all? It’s not as if the Old Gits are rampaging through the weekend streets brawling and puking.

For many older people, having a regular couple of drinks is one of the few pleasures they’re still able to enjoy. In my experience, the vast majority settle down to a ritualised routine of moderate drinking and rarely if ever overdo it. In the last years of his life, my late father (who lived to 91) would have one pint or bottle or can before his lunch, and one small whisky or sherry before his tea, and that was it. But even that would have been 3 or 4 units a day.

In any case, if you’re in the twilight of your years and can see the Grim Reaper coming over the horizon, the argument that abstaining from drink will prolong your life is unlikely to carry much weight.

It also seems that they want doctors to do yet more prying every time you go into the surgery with a minor ailment:
They also want GPs to screen every person over the age of 65 for substance misuse, along with health campaigns around drugs and alcohol specifically targeting older people.
Also, typical of the BBC and its unquestioning obeisance to the Bully State, there isn’t a single dissenting or sceptical opinion quoted in the report.

The comments on the article are, however, well worth reading:
So now we have to work on past the age where scientists are telling us we cannot tolerate alcohol due to health issues, we are susceptible to injury and are over the hill. But we need to keep working to support junkies and those who scrounge off the system. At this rate it is cradle to grave and don't think you are getting a pension as you will just drink it. By the time I retire I will be dead.
I was amused by one comment that this guideline limit was so low that they were obviously now trying to treat alcohol abuse by homeopathy.


  1. The woman from Saga magazine was good when they had this item on radio 4:

  2. Yes, Emma Soames. She wasn't taking any crap from these crazed fascists.

  3. Also worth noting is the origins of this so-called report. The Royal College of Psychiatrists are, frankly, not even qualified to give such advice. And, even if they were, building a deck of cards on sand (recommended units) would render any such advice meaningless, anyway.

  4. I hate to be a bit of a 'downer' but being on the retail side of things, I do see my fair share of alcohol abuse amongst OAPs. We have two or three who buy a large bottle of cheap vodka or whisky, about 5/6 times a week. But as you say - it's not like they're rampaging down the streets.

  5. Both my parents turned to booze in their later years. My father suffered a series of TIAs (mini-strokes - nasty things, not much physical effect but several hours of confusion and dysphasia, and each one leaves a bit more damage behind). When the doctor told him that red wine wouldn't do him any harm, he took this as a positive recommendation and had a bottle on the go more or less permanently from then on, or at least until his first major stroke. After he died, my mother started hitting the brandy on a fairly regular basis - a glass or two a night, just enough to "take the edges off". She died after her second stroke; it was a mercy, by then the Alzheimer's had started to kick in.

    My point (I have got one) is that this would be a tragic tale with awful warnings of the danger of alcohol abuse if they'd been in their 60s. They weren't; my mother was 84 when she died, and my father was 87. They were both over 80 when they started hitting the booze - and if you can't do it at that age, when the hell can you?

  6. Oh, I'm not claiming that alcoholism and very heavy drinking are unknown amongst pensioners, and I'm sure some do take to it as a coping strategy.

    But to argue that the best way of dealing with that is to expect light drinkers to cut down even further is nonsense. It's the usual approach of stigmatising everyone rather than concentrating on those who really do have a problem. In a word, denormalisation.

  7. "It's the usual approach of stigmatising everyone rather than concentrating on those who really do have a problem.It's the usual approach of stigmatising everyone rather than concentrating on those who really do have a problem."

    It's a very fascist approach. "Better 99 innocent people are punished than one guilty one goes free."

  8. "Drink less and live longer"
    It'll only seem longer...

    This is another case of quacks justifying their own existence and their own research grants.

  9. I think it can be difficult sometimes for people. Take these Royal Psychie guys, all they probably ever hear about are the bad uses of alcohol. No one ever really hears of the little old lady who enjoys the half pint of lager every day, it's the ones who drain litres of whisky, people study. But yes, they are wrong to impose these views onto others.

  10. ...and I'm sure you won't be surprised to hear that the Royal College of Psychiatrist bloke on the radio said we're in a situation like we were with smokers 20 years ago.

  11. Leg-iron here:

    "When I get old, assuming I get that far, I plan to spend the last years of my time permanently and entirely pissed."

  12. UKIP slams report on over-65s drinking

    Paul Nuttall, deputy leader of the UK Independence Party, said: “The psychiatrists seem to be suggesting that pensioners drink more than they should because they are lonely. Well that is why they go to their local, for a pint and some company.

    “This is a direct attack on the income of the family pub. It won’t harm the lager palaces who don’t cater for pensioners, but it will seriously hit the local.

    “The point is that by trying to scare the elderly off their tipples the impact will be felt in greater misery, greater loneliness and of course a further hit on the profits of the beleaguered pub and club trade.”

  13. 'It's the usual approach of stigmatising everyone rather than concentrating on those who really do have a problem."

    Strangely enough yesterday I was in a hospital and sitting in a room full of people waiting for either a local or general anesthetic. As the people waiting for a general could not drink or eat everybody had to sit in a boiling room for hours with nothing as staff had decided it was unfair to eat/drink in front of them.
    Are people really that stupid? I don't think so.

  14. Collective punishment and denormalisation, the standard tactics of the Progressive state run by 'experts'. The BBC just loves this stuff, but then again they are Progressive cunts to the core.

  15. Martin, Cambridge23 June 2011 at 16:58

    As always the media debate focuses on the consequences of extreme drinking (e.g. 15+ units a day rather than over a week).

    The case for moderation in older age that I heard was related to the incidence of falls, which I can't believe rises dramatically after a couple of pints or equivalent).

  16. It's worth mentioning that an OAP even drinking two cans of 2% Tesco Value Bitter would be over the daily limit.

  17. Don't expect to see this receive any publicity

    "Proper scientists: Old folk should drink MORE, not less"

    Mind you, at 4 units a day, it's hardly worth my going to the pub.


Comments, especially on older posts, may require prior approval by the blog owner. See here for details of my comment policy.

Please register an account to comment. To combat persistent trolling, unregistered comments are liable to be deleted unless I recognise the author. If you intend to make more than the occasional comment using an unregistered ID, you will need to tell me something about yourself.