Alcohol problems in older adults

Substance abuse is viewed as a disorder of the young. Substance abuse among older adults is often ignored or even denied by family members and health care workers. When speaking of an aging parent’s use of alcohol and medications, many people commonly mistake addiction for pleasure. In older adult, alcohol may be used by the elderly to soothe feelings of isolation and loneliness. In addition, it may be a way to numb the grief from a spouse’s death, physical pain or limitations, fear of dying, or stress associated with increasing financial burdens caused by a growing need for medical services.

The elderly are more vulnerable to the effects of alcohol, because their systems do not detoxify and excrete as efficiently as do those of younger people. Alcohol abuse in older adults should be diagnosed and effectively treated to decrease mortality and morbidity. For older adult, inpatient treatment is often a better choice to help them on alcohol addiction problem.

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