Intended for healthcare professionals


Alcohol consumption limits should be lowered for over 65s, say psychiatrists

BMJ 2011; 342 doi: (Published 21 June 2011) Cite this as: BMJ 2011;342:d3950
  1. Jacqui Wise
  1. 1London

Government guidelines on safe limits for drinking should be lowered for people aged over 65 years to 1.5 units a day for men and 1 unit a day for women, the Royal College of Psychiatrists recommends.

Our Invisible Addicts, written by the college’s working group on older people’s substance misuse, says that physiological and metabolic changes associated with ageing mean that the current safe limits are too high for elderly people. It says that binge drinking should be defined for this age group as more than 4.5 units in a single session for men and more than 3 units for women.

Launching the report, Tony Rao, consultant in old age psychiatry at South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust, said, “For a given volume …

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