At the end of June, a report was published by the Royal College of Psychiatrists, entitled “Our Invisible Addicts”. Judging by the ridicule it has received in the press, it must be a contender for “daftest research of the year”. It’s central conclusion is that older men should be restricted to consuming no more than 1.5 units of alcohol a day – a pint of weak beer or a small glass of wine or a single glass of spirits. For women over 65 their recommendation is even less – just 1 unit a day – which must mean they should never finish a drink?
This expert panel of addiction specialists ludicrously go on to suggest that GPs should screen all over 65’s for alcohol and drug misuse. If they lived in the real world they would know that most older people cannot afford to drink every day. Even those that do go to the pub more frequently often end up making a pint or a glass of wine last for hours. As far as drug addiction is concerned, it’s certainly not illegal drugs they should be worried about. Their biggest concern should be the medical profession themselves, and the pill-popping habits they have encouraged all of us to adopt.
This sweepingly callous, insensitive and inappropriate conclusion has meant that some genuine issues raised in the study may well be overlooked. The report does point out that a third of all people who do have drink problems, develop them in later life. It goes on to say that this is often because of bereavement, boredom, loneliness and depression. These issues really do need addressing, though not with drugs or alcohol.
Friends and activity are far better support than pills and potions. How about a drink at the local 🙂