All of the effects are amplified with age

alcohol, drinking,chart,wine,middle age – Drinking After 40: Why Hangovers Hit Harder. A few excerpts…

  • When you’re in your 40s, it’s pretty common to need reading glasses. You might need smaller wine glasses, too.
  • That’s because alcohol hits people harder in their 40s and 50s than it did during their 20s and 30s.
  • “All of the effects of alcohol are sort of amplified with age”
  • Body composition starts to change as early as the 30s. As people age, they tend to lose muscle mass, while fat content increases. Alcohol isn’t distributed in fat. People also have less total body water as they get older. So if several people have the same amount to drink, those with more fat and less muscle and body water will have more alcohol circulating in their bloodstream. (This is also partly why women of any age tend to feel alcohol’s effects more than men.)
  • People in their 40s and older simply tend not to drink as much or as often as those in their 20s and 30s, which lowers tolerance.

  • Beginning in the 50s and 60s, the brain is more sensitive to alcohol. Booze basically enhances normal age-related cognitive decline. Neurons lose speed…As people age, “neurons are not as efficient. So you impair them with a little bit of alcohol, they are that much more inefficient…”Somebody who goes to a cocktail party at 65 can have one or two drinks and be really impaired.
  • “A lot of older people are borderline dehydrated. They have less body water just from the natural effects of aging…It helps to drink water and have a full stomach when knocking one back.”
  • Some people swear that only certain types of alcohol—red wine, tequila—are a problem. Generally, doctors say there’s little science indicating that some drinks make people drunker or lead to more miserable hangovers. It is true, however, that people at any age can develop sensitivities to sulfites and tannins in wine, which can cause headaches and an upset stomach…
  • Older people are also more affected by alcohol’s impact on sleep, a fact that can turn a mild hangover into a must-stay-in-bed-all-day affair. “Alcohol in all ages wrecks our REM sleep…Older adults are more likely to have poor sleep. [Alcohol] can make sleep even more fragmented.”

See entire article here.


  1. I gave up alcohol all together while I was on psych meds and just never saw the point of adding it back in. I already self-medicate WAY too much with food. I don’t need another compulsion!


  2. all makes sense and seems true based upon my own experience. oops, luckily i posted the ‘thanksgiving drinking game’ 2 days ago – it’s all in the timing )


  3. I am sorry to say it, it just s—- getting old! I am right there with all of what the article says!


    • Laughing. So true Paco. Reminds me of the quote – I have so much work to do to arrive where Buechner is trying to land:

      “I recognize that even in the valley of the shadow of my own tangled thoughts there is something holy and unutterable seeking to restore my soul … I always stop and touch the coarse gray bark of one particular tree with my hand or cheek, which I suppose is a way of blessing it for being so strong and beautiful. Who knows how long it has been standing there wearing its foliage like a crown even though a part of it is dying? Because of that quality of sheer endurance one morning I found myself touching it not to bless it, but to ask its blessing, so that I myself might move toward old age and death with something like its stunning grace and courage.”

      —Frederick Buechner


  4. Interesting! It explains why I (seriously) can feel the effects of two swallows of merlot. It also explains why DH hears, thinks, speaks and moves like a bottle of catsup after his many beers of a night: He DOES get tanked nowadays, not just buzzed. I’m printing this out. Thank you!


  5. no wonder i cannot drink alcohol. darn.


  6. Alcohol is evil, but I do like a glass of wine with dinner.


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