Senior Citizens: Developing An Addiction To Alcohol After Retirement

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Senior Citizens Developing an Addiction to Alcohol after Retirement

You finally made it. After working hard for many years, you can enjoy your retirement. But perhaps your retirement is not going as well as you had planned. Unexpected events or tragedies such as losing a loved one or a spouse have occurred in your golden years and you have turned to alcohol to cope. It’s possible that without the daily responsibility of holding a job, you have been tempted to pick up old habits with the bottle. Or maybe you have developed an illness and are trying to find ways to cope and escape from your present circumstances.

Although many people think that retirement means spending time with friends and family, relaxation, traveling and generally happy times, most people do not think that seniors who have retired could be struggling with an addiction, unless perhaps they struggled with it previously. Whatever the cause, alcohol addiction in retirees is actually a neglected problem that is not always visible to the public. Surprisingly, alcohol is the most abused drug among seniors and it is estimated that 3 million Americans aged 55 or older struggle with alcohol abuse and that number is expected to rise to 6 million by 2020. This is a serious issue. What are some of the reasons that lead seniors to alcohol addiction?

I Loved My Work And Retirement Came Too Soon

Perhaps your retirement was not a choice but was rather forced upon you by your company (or a personal sudden illness) for any number of reasons. Those who retire by choice (a planned retirement due to health or simply because it’s time) are less likely to engage in alcoholic behaviors because their retirement was a decision they made.

For those whose retirements were not planned and happened out of their control, they are the people more likely at risk to develop an alcohol addiction. If you were forced into retirement due to your work, then you may feel as if your happiness has been taken away from you, which may lead to finding other sources of coping with temporary fulfillments or distractions, such as alcohol.

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Retired Couple

The Hardest Years Of A Marriage

For some, after retirement can be the hardest time in your marriage.  Do not feel alone. Experts say it is common for couples to have more marital and intimacy issues after retirement due to the change in daily dynamics. Maybe you were gone 8 hours a day and your spouse was also working and now that one or both of you are not working, maybe you can’t stand to be around each other. Or maybe your spouse feels resentment towards you if they are still working and you have retired: which could lead towards arguments about financial issues and your adjusted retirement income. Those who did not prepare financially or who struggle with changes in finances due to retirement are at risk for developing an alcohol addiction.

My Work Environment Was Awful, Or Wonderful

For those who had a wonderful working environment, those individuals are surprisingly more at risk to consume alcohol after retirement. One of the reasons for this is that if you have found your work to be personally rewarding, after you retire, you have taken a feeling of happiness away from yourself so you may turn to other form of “happiness” or fulfillment. If you absolutely disliked your job, you are at less risk to develop an alcohol addiction because you no longer have to work in that stressful environment and can now do what you actually enjoy.

Age As A Factor

Whether you retired at 40 or 75, those who retired earlier on in their lives are more at risk for alcohol abuse or addiction. Statistics suggest that the earlier a person retires, alcohol abuse will be more severe than someone who retired at 75. If an illness has caused you to retire early, feelings of guilt or frustration could also lead to alcohol abuse.

Contact Us For Help

If you or someone you know is struggling with alcohol addiction after retirement, or if you worry they may be at risk for developing an alcoholic addiction, contact us at these are not all the reasons that seniors may turn to alcohol in retirement, it is important to know the facts. It is generally a good rule of thumb to stay busy after retirement, such as spending time with family and friends or enjoying a hobby. If you or someone you know is struggling with alcohol addiction after retirement, or if you worry they may be at risk for developing an alcoholic addiction, contact us at

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