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At-Risk Alcohol Abuse Among Older People

older man with his head in his hands struggling with at-risk alcohol abuse among older people

Many misconceptions and stereotypes exist when you think about older people drinking alcohol. A new revealing study by the school of medicine at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) exposes much more about alcohol use by people 60 years old and older. Many people think that drinking later in life isn’t much of an issue or that not a lot can be done to tackle it if it is. But a new understanding of the risks of drinking for older people can help you or a loved one get the treatment you need.

At Michael’s House, we understand that elderly alcohol abuse can be a hidden and overlooked issue, but it’s essential to address it to prevent further health complications. The study done by UCLA shows that older adults are more sensitive to the effects of alcohol, including an increased risk for falls, confusion, and chronic diseases such as hypertension and liver problems. Reach out to Michael’s House at 760.548.4032 for more information about our alcohol rehab center and how we can help elderly individuals with alcohol addiction.

Health Risk Factors of Senior Alcohol Abuse

According to the UCLA study, older drinkers are much more likely to take various medications, which can increase their risk of developing complications from alcohol use. Some medicines can be dangerous when combined with alcohol, and certain health conditions can significantly worsen with heavy alcohol use, especially heart and liver conditions. Some older drinkers are at risk because they drink alone due to the recent death of a spouse or other loved one or a divorce.

Older drinkers are also at significant risk for injury because of more frail bones, worsened sense of balance, or weakened muscles. The National Institute on Aging lists several risk factors for older adults who drink too much over time. Drinking too much over time as an older adult can:

  • Lead to some kinds of cancer, liver damage, immune system disorders, and brain damage.
  • Worsen some health conditions like osteoporosis, diabetes, high blood pressure, and ulcers.
  • Make some medical problems hard for doctors to find and treat because alcohol damage causes changes in the heart and blood vessels. These changes can dull pain or other symptoms that might be warning signs of a problem.
  • Increased forgetfulness and confusion in some older people which could be mistaken for signs of Alzheimer’s

The good news is that elderly alcohol abuse can be treated. It’s critical to find help that addresses the issue before it causes further damage to your health. Contact us at Michael’s House for more information about treatment options for elderly individuals struggling with alcohol addiction.

Statistics of Alcohol Addiction in Elderly Adults

The UCLA study found that alcohol issues differed slightly for different cultural, educational, and age groups. Persons aged 60 to 64 were more than twice as likely to have a drinking problem as those 80 years or older. Graduating from high school seemed to decrease an older person’s chances for risky drinking by 2.5 times. According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, adults 65 years or older and on no medication should have no more than three drinks on a given day or seven drinks in a week.

Choosing Alcohol Addiction Treatment for Senior Alcohol Abuse

Addiction is a severe problem at any stage of life. However, seniors face unique challenges when it comes to alcohol addiction treatment. Because they are often retired and living on a fixed income, many seniors cannot afford the high cost of inpatient treatment. In addition, many seniors have pre-existing health conditions that make detox and recovery more complex.

As a result, it is crucial to choose an alcohol addiction treatment program specifically designed for seniors. These programs typically offer the following:

  • Affordable payment options
  • Detox and medical supervision
  • Treatment for co-occurring mental health disorders
  • Cognitive behavioral therapy and other evidence-based therapies

By choosing an alcohol addiction treatment program right for them, seniors can get the help they need to overcome addiction and live a healthy, sober life.

Get Help from an Alcohol Rehab Center at Michael’s House

Older people tend to be somewhat ignored when it comes to alcohol addiction. People often assume that the symptoms associated with alcohol use are just a normal part of aging. But too much alcohol in the older adult can have disastrous consequences. Specific medication and alcohol combinations can be fatal, while other accelerated diseases will quickly deteriorate a person’s quality of life. By taking preventative measures, we can help to ensure that older relatives live long, healthy lives.

A senior may doubt they can change, especially after so many years. But with family participation and encouragement, older adults with at-risk alcohol use can improve and even save their lives by getting the proper treatment. At Michael’s House, we have an elderly program designed specifically for older adults struggling with alcohol addiction. Don’t wait any longer—reach out to us today at 760.548.4032 to learn about elderly alcohol abuse and start the healing process.