Elderly alcoholism: Overlapping of symptoms and neglect accelerate health risk

Elderly alcoholism: Overlapping of symptoms and neglect accelerate health risk

Alcoholism among elderly is an alarmingly growing phenomenon in the United States. Most of the times, elderly alcoholism is under recognized for various reasons due to the similarity and overlapping with the symptoms of aging. Considering the above situation, it is extremely necessary to keep an eye on one’s parents or elderly relatives to avoid total dependence on alcohol.

Several pieces of evidence suggest that approximately 17 percent of the people suffer from alcohol use disorder (AUD) during their golden period. Despite such a large proportion, the problem of elderly alcoholism is, many a times, neglected because most people believe that the elderly people have already lived their productive lives. Therefore, when elderly people indulge in a drink or two, people find it perfectly allowable and permissible.

Considering the fact that many health conditions and risk factors are attached to elderly alcoholism, it is necessary to tread with caution. Whether it is to get relaxation or to catch a good night’s sleep, such a habit can have serious repercussions.

Risks associated with alcoholism among older people

Many experts believe that the moderate amount of alcohol may sometimes be beneficial for both the younger ones and elderly. Moreover, it has been observed that elderly people during social gatherings, outings, etc. often cross the mark when it comes to drinking. This can lead to serious health and personal issues, some of which include the following:

  • Increased risk of having a stroke
  • Increased blood pressure or hypertension
  • Liver damages, including cirrhosis and liver cancer
  • Increased probability of head, neck and throat cancers
  • Dangerous mix-up of alcohol and prescription drugs
  • General decline in cognitive and psychological abilities, including dementia
  • Higher chances of osteoporosis
  • Higher risk of falls, including hip fractures and other issues that require surgery

As the elderly people have low water content in their bodies, the dilution of alcohol takes place slowly and at a reduced rate. This is the reason why alcoholism can be more degenerative for the elderly than the young ones. According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA), people over the age of 65 should not cross seven drinks a week and should take no more than three drinks on a single day. By indulging in more than the above-mentioned number of drinks, people stand an increased chance of witnessing serious problems.

Since elderly people have lower tolerance for alcohol, they also stand a higher risk of witnessing problems compared to the other age groups. Some of the common problems faced by the older adults due to drinking include diabetes, high blood pressure, liver problems, memory problems, mood disorders, osteoporosis, etc.

Offering timely help can help curb alcohol addiction

Many a time, elderly people may be too stubborn to acknowledge that they have the issue of alcoholism. They may also get defensive due to the stigma attached to alcoholism to avoid the social consequences of drinking. Some of the elderly people may also think about their reputation in the family and hide the reality.

However, people through persuasion and empathetic conversation can enable them to accept the fact and be ready to seek help. Once they are ready to seek help and treatment, the family members should provide adequate support to them. This will enable them to not feel lonely in their journey toward sobriety.

Alcohol addiction can complicate the physical and psychological issues that appear during the golden years. Therefore, the best way to handle this is to get treated at the earliest. The multifaceted benefits of alcohol addiction treatment are beneficial for all regardless of age or gender.

Although there are limited facilities that are dedicated to the problem of alcohol use disorder (AUD) among the elderly, contact the Alcohol Addiction Get Helpline to find the best alcohol addiction treatment centers. Call us at our 24/7 helpline number 866-281-3014 or chat online to get the best in class support and services. The alcohol addiction treatment helpline keeps all patient information protected and assures that information is not divulged to any third party.  

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