Alcohol Abuse And Treatment For Senior Citizens

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Alcohol addiction does not discriminate. Anyone with any susceptibility to addiction is at risk, whether you are just starting college or entering retirement. Alcohol addiction and binge drinking are reported among people aged 65 and older, just as they are among the college aged demographic. In fact, though it receives less media attention, this segment of the population tends to binge more often, and is at a higher risk of resulting alcohol poisoning because they also consume more alcohol during binges.

Treatment of alcohol abuse for senior citizens differs some from treatment of younger populations. Senior citizens are more likely to have experienced the loss of a life partner and may experience loneliness, feelings of isolation, and grief as a result. They also have very different physical conditions and may have a higher incidence of pre-existing medical issues that require additional care.

Selecting a rehabilitation center based on these key elements can improve an individual’s recovery outcome and help them develop the coping skills they need to continue to live out a long and fulfilling life.

Alcohol Addiction Among Senior Citizens

A recent Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) report indicated that 70 percent of people who binge drink are senior citizens, aged 65 and older. Alcohol addiction is also prevalent in older populations, with 40 percent consuming alcohol nearly a quarter of those individuals considered at-risk or problem drinkers. Often these problems are overlooked by loved ones who miss the early warning signs of the abuse.

Those early warning signs can resemble other illnesses common to aging populations, and may include changes in balance, frequent falls, sudden mood changes or unexplained agitation, confusion, and insomnia. Alcohol addiction carries significant health risks for anyone who abuses it, but for elderly populations, alcohol carries additional risk with falls or other accidents. Mixing alcohol and prescription medications can also prove fatal.

Signs of Alcohol Addiction:

  • Changes in balance
  • Frequent falls
  • Sudden mood changes
  • Agitation
  • Confusion
  • Insomnia

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Senior Citizen Alcohol Addiction Treatment

The rate of alcohol addiction among aging populations isn’t decreasing. In fact, as more of the Baby Boomer population ages, the number of individuals considered at-risk for alcohol addiction is expected to rise. As a result, medical professionals and treatment professionals are finding ways to more quickly identify problem drinking before an addiction to alcohol can take root.

Additionally, more treatment centers with a focus on aging populations are needed to address this anticipated increase. Individuals over 65 have a very different set of needs and preferences from their younger counterparts. Alcohol rehab for senior citizens should maintain a comprehensive approach that addresses any co-occurring mental health issues including depression or anxiety. The facility should also be capable of managing medications or physical therapies related to chronic conditions, or illness unrelated to the addiction.

Physical limitations may also impede an individual’s ability to seek treatment for an addiction to alcohol. Alcohol rehab facilities catering to aging populations must consider the physical barriers older populations face, and provide accessibility accordingly.

Detoxification must also be managed differently, especially if other physical illnesses are co-occurring. This process may be done in a hospital setting, or within a designated facility capable of around-the-clock care.

Another emphasized aspect of senior citizen alcohol treatment involves a broadening of the individual’s social network. As people age, they are more likely to have lost close friends, family, and a spouse, which contributes to higher rates of isolation and related depression and anxiety. Increasing a person’s social network can significantly improve that individual’s opportunity for long-term success.

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If alcohol feels like it is taking control of your life, can provide the online resources, professional support, and compassionate treatment options to help you get your life back on track. Contact us today about the evidence-based and comprehensive care you deserve and discover a new life going forward in recovery.

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