Alcohol Addiction among Seniors and Elderly People

Seniors and elderly people today are abusing alcohol more than any other previous generation. The number of alcoholics over the age of 65 only continues to rise. Sadly, at least half of these people go completely undiagnosed, and their problem continues.

Alcohol Addiction Among Seniors and Elderly People

A common scenario we will describe involves a character called Aunt Ruth. Aunt Ruth never touched alcohol, but after her husband died, she began to have a drink before bed to help her sleep. Now, no one close to her has noticed that she drinks throughout the day just to get through it and needed to seek help at an alcohol addiction rehab. This is an all-too-common story that many alcohol addiction rehabs come across. Seniors and elderly people are able to hide their abuse so easily, they able to do it in plain sight, and no one notices.

Elderly Alcohol Abuse Usually goes Unnoticed

Seniors and elderly people may begin to abuse alcohol in order to cope with loneliness, depression, grief, or pain from an injury. Over time, these seniors or elderly people begin to drink more alcohol, eventually this leads to abuse, which leads to addiction. One out of two times, this heavy intake of alcohol goes unnoticed. The individual may limit their drinking when family or friends are around, or these loved ones may believe that they have a drink every now and then.

Doctors and healthcare professionals often misdiagnose alcohol abuse or addiction amongst seniors and elderly people. This is partly because these professionals, unlike alcohol addiction rehabs, are not trained to watch for sings of addiction in these individuals. Additionally, many seniors or elderly people have health problems; signs of alcohol abuse or addiction can be disguised within their existing symptoms.

Elderly people typically have little or no interaction with law enforcement and do not visit local bars to drink; they tend to stay at home and keep their drinking to themselves. Most are retired, therefore their alcohol abuse does not affect the workplace. All of these situations keep their alcoholism out of sight, making it much more difficult for them to get the help they need.

Seniors and the Elderly are at Higher Risk

There are several problems that occur when a senior or elderly person’s alcohol abuse goes unnoticed. As the body ages, it begins to react to alcohol differently.  It metabolises alcohol more slowly; therefore, the alcohol and the effects stay in the body longer. As we get older, we will be more intoxicated more quickly and from smaller amounts of alcohol than when we were younger; alcohol recovery is essential to limit alcohol’s negative effects.

A senior or elderly person who abuses alcohol is putting themselves at an even greater risk for injuries such as falls, burns and other accidents. Alcohol is notorious for causing memory blackouts; these can be especially serious for seniors if, for example, they forget that the oven is on, a candle is lit, or to take their medicine on time. Instances like these can result in serious injury or medical complications.

As you grow older, chances are you may develop chronic diseases that drinking can make worse. Alcohol can adversely affect many health conditions such as liver problems, congestive heart failure, memory problems, high blood pressure and diabetes. Attending an alcohol addiction rehab staffed with specialized medical professionals will help to dramatically improve the health of an elderly alcoholic.

Seniors and elderly people are often on various medications. Many of these do not mix well with alcohol. Alcohol can cause some medications to not work properly and can make some turn toxic. Even more alarming is that someone may be unaware of the potential harmful or life threatening effects of mixing, but also because they consume alcohol typically by themselves, help may not be available if needed.

Seeking Treatment for Alcohol Addiction

It is important for close friends or relatives to pay attention to older relatives or friends. These individuals need comfort, care, and love.  By offering these things, alcohol abuse and addiction can be avoided. If there is a problem then alcohol addiction treatment should be sought immediately.

If you know a senior or elderly person who may be abusing alcohol it is important that they get treatment. In doing so, they will feel physically and emotionally uplifted.  The sooner your loved one gets help, the better the chances are of getting and staying sober which is why it is important to seek treatment at the first signs of addiction if possible.

The Cabin Chiang Mai boasts an impressive team of Western trained and licensed alcoholism counselling specialists. Combined, they hold many years of experience dealing with all forms of drug and alcohol addiction. Contact us today to learn how we can help.