Late onset alcoholism.

Eur Psychiatry 2003 May;18(3):112-8

Department of Psychiatry, University Medical School of Lübeck, Lübeck, Germany.

Rather high prevalence rates of alcohol abuse in the elderly have been reported in the literature. However, there is some evidence that many elderly persons with alcohol problems are not identified, probably due to the nonspecificity of alcohol-related presentations in old individuals. Thus, there is an ongoing discussion on appropriate diagnostic criteria for alcohol dependence in elder people who frequently begin to abuse alcohol in late life. This study was aimed to explore whether alcoholics with late onset (beginning after the age of 45) differ from those with an early onset (prior the age of 25). Two hundred and sixty eight subjects consecutively referred to a ward of a general hospital specialized for alcohol detoxification were divided into three groups by the age at onset of harmful alcohol consumption. The duration of harmful drinking was rather similar in all groups. However, alcohol dependence according to the ICD-10 criteria (three or more have to be fulfilled) was diagnosed in 94.1% of the alcoholics with an early onset (

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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/s0924-9338(03)00025-7DOI Listing
May 2003

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