Risky alcohol consumption can increase at time of retirement

New research shows that some employees drink more alcohol when they retire.

Researchers followed 5,800 employees that retired between 2000 and 2011 and answered a questionnaire about how much alcohol they drank before and after retiring. The study was published March 3 in the journal Addiction.

About 12 percent of retirees increased their risky drinking when they retired. This increase was more common in smokers, men, depressed employees, and those who worked in a metropolitan area. Lead researcher Docent Jaana Halonen said these are known risk factors for abusing alcohol.

About 81 percent of the participants continued to drink a healthy amount and seven percent drank less after retiring.

Retirement involves much more free time, which has the potential for positive or negative effects on a person’s health, according to Academy Research Fellow Docent Sari Stenholm.

Written by: Katherine Heighway | Medically reviewed by: Dr. Robert Carlson, M.D.