Is Alcohol Riskier for Elders Than for Teens?

“In the United States, as many as 13 percent of men and 8 percent of women over age 65 take part in risky drinking behavior, with an estimated 1 to 3 percent of them believed to be seriously abusing alcohol,” The Huffington Post reports.

Whether an elder abuses alcohol because he or she is lonely, tries to create more comfortable social settings or wants to take advantage of the common-held beliefs that alcoholic drinks, like wine, can reduce the risks of conditions such as Alzheimer’s or osteoporosis, seniors who drink in excess still put themselves at higher risk for disease and injury/accidents than most.

Aging can reduce the body’s ability to adapt to alcohol, making alcohol and its effects more risky for older people than for teens. This is because the older you are, the more the water in your body decreases, making alcohol levels more concentrated. Many senior citizens also take medication on a regular basis, which can have a negative impact on alcohol use by lessening the effectiveness of a medication and/or causing harmful side effects along with a medication.

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Once in treatment, however, we’ve typically seen older adults more successful at getting and staying sober than other client populations. Some seniors feel this will be their last chance to get sobriety right, and failure isn’t an option. Others are motivated by their children or grandchildren and by the desire to create a positive legacy.

If you or a loved one is an elder person who may need substance abuse treatment, contact us today for the help and support you need!

 

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