Dr. Seppala points to several root causes of binge drinking among more older people. One is force of habit—simply continuing the level of alcohol consumption they had when they were younger. Another is stresses, particularly that caused by the current economic recession, as people age. "Our boomers, they're looking at retirement and it suddenly got pushed way back. Their jobs are on the line; they may have lost their jobs, their ability to provide for their families. Their kids are in college, and they can't afford it," Dr. Seppala says. "You know, at the start of this economic downturn, economic pundits started talking about putting your money in alcohol. Why is that? Because people drink more during these down economic periods."

Another reason that older people and college students binge drink is an abundance of free time and boredom. "[They drink] just to fill in the time and feel a little better," Dr. Seppala says.

Dr. Seppala says education is needed to combat the negative effects of baby boomer binge drinking. If people had healthier attitudes about drinking, binge drinking in non-alcoholics wouldn't be as prevalent, he says. The problem is that it's unclear what those healthy attitudes would be. "There is a use of alcohol that could be considered, I don't know if I'd call it healthy, but at least it's not unhealthy," he says. "A lot of good comes from healthy use of alcohol. It's just that in our country, people tend to really overdo it on a regular basis, resulting in health consequences."

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