What Age is Alcoholism Most Prevalent?

When focusing on what age is alcoholism most prevalent, we must make sure that we clearly define our subject matter.

For example, some individuals might interpret this question as meaning the age at which most people drink alcohol.

While this is a legitimate question, it is not what our original question stated. When research uncovers information about the age at which alcoholism is most prevalent, more preventative and educational measures can be developed to counteract these trends.

Alcoholism and The Results From Two Surveys

According to the 2004-05 Australian Bureau of Statistics National Health Survey, the proportion of adults who had consumed alcohol at levels which, if continued, would be risky or a high risk to their health for both men and women was the 55 – 64 year age group.

The National Hospital Discharge Survey (NHDS) in the United States undertook a similar study from 1979 to 2003.

The main difference between the Australian and the NHDS studies was the age groups that were established.

For example, the Australian survey placed middle aged people in the 55 – 64 age group, whereas the NHDS study placed middle aged people in the 45 – 64 age group.

The following represents all of the age groups established by the NHDS studies:

  • 15 – 24 years old
  • 25- 44 years old
  • 45 – 64 years old
  • 65+ years old

The National Hospital Discharge Survey Findings

Since the most recent (NHDS) findings were done in 2003, the following represents the findings from the 2003 study:

Alcoholic Cirrhosis

  • 45 – 64 years old
  • 25 – 44 years old
  • 65+ years old
  • 15 – 24 years old

Alcoholic Psychoses

  • 45 – 64 years old
  • 25 – 44 years old
  • 65+ years old
  • 15 – 24 years old

Nondependent Abuse of Alcohol

  • 45 – 64 years old
  • 25 – 44 years old
  • 65+ years old
  • 15 – 24 years old

Alcohol Dependence Syndrome

  • 45 – 64 years old
  • 25 – 44 years old
  • 65+ years old
  • 15 – 24 years old

Unfortunately, NHDS did not make their age groups less inclusive so that specific ages could be isolated and focused on.

Nonetheless, the above NHDS findings clearly show that for Alcohol Dependence, Alcoholic Psychoses, Alcoholic Cirrhosis, and for Alcohol Abuse, the most prevalent age for all of these conditions was for the group of people between the ages of 45 – 64 years old.

Conclusion: What Age is Alcoholism Most Prevalent?

Depending on which study one refers to, the answer to the question “what age is alcoholism most prevalent” is either the 45 – 64 year-old age group (as per the 2003 National Hospital Discharge Survey done in the United States) or the 55-64 year-old age group (according to the 2004-2005 Australian Bureau of Statistics National Health Survey).

Due to the fact that both surveys labeled each respective age group as “middle aged people,” it would appear that the people in the middle age group represent the age at which alcoholism is most common.