Dealing with a growing problem
Alcohol abuse is a problem in most countries, and ours is no exception. But what’s particularly troubling is the growing prevalence among seniors. Approximately 6 million adults over the age of 50 suffer from substance use disorders, predominantly alcoholism. The National Council on Alcohol and Drug Dependence points out that up to 11 percent of elderly hospital admissions are because of drug- and alcohol-related issues. This is about the same percentage of elderly people being admitted to the hospital because of heart attacks.
Seniors may be especially susceptible to substance abuse because of debilitating factors that are associated with aging. They have to cope with the empty nest as their children move away, may suffer the trauma of losing a spouse, other loved ones, and friends. Some may feel socially isolated; some have to deal with financial difficulties and deteriorating health; some are just bored. Whatever the reason, circumstances such as these can often lead to depression, estimated to be as high as 20% among this population. For some, alcohol may be the means for easing their pain.
While alcohol abuse has serious health consequences for all people, it is especially the case for seniors. There are issues related to how alcohol is absorbed by our bodies when we get older, the potential for dangerous side-effects, interactions with other medications, among others.
Rather than expound further, I thought it would be more helpful to point you to a highly informative article published in aging.com, “Alcohol Abuse Amongst the Elderly: A Complete Guide”.
It is as the title suggests — a thorough assessment of the problem. The authors present an easy to read assessment of the causes, threats to physical and psychological health, symptoms associated with abuse, and courses of action for treatment.
If you or someone you know has a drinking problem, we urge you to read this article. Click on the link below.