Alcoholism in Older Adults is Rising

Alcoholism in Older Adults is Rising

Several studies have revealed that the rate of alcoholism among adults is increasing. This is especially concerning for the loved ones of those who are predisposed to alcoholism. Understanding why this is happening might help you put a stop to the problem in your own life, which is why we have compiled some reasons and resources to assist you in this blog.

If you need a safe space to stay sober, our sober living environment at The Sanctuary Recovery Foundation may be right for you. Contact us and learn how we can help.

Reasons Alcoholism in Older Adults is Rising

The aging baby boomer demographic, born between 1946 and 1964, comprises a huge cohort of people who may have a history of drinking more alcohol than preceding generations. As they age, individuals may continue or even increase their alcohol consumption, adding to the rising prevalence of alcoholism. Here are some more reasons why alcoholism in older adults is rising.

Social Attitudes

Alcohol is widely available, and social attitudes surrounding alcohol consumption have shifted in many societies. Older people may have grown up at a time when alcohol was more restricted, and its availability and acceptance in later life may result in increased consumption. 

Coping With Life Transitions

Retirement, the loss of loved ones, health challenges, or social isolation may all be big life transitions for people over 65. These shifts might cause emotions of loneliness, boredom, despair, or worry, and some people may resort to alcohol to cope with these difficulties.

Medication Interactions

To manage various health issues, older folks frequently take numerous medications. When certain drugs are mixed with alcohol, they can have detrimental effects or interactions, increasing vulnerability to alcohol-related issues.

Underdiagnosis and Undertreatment

Alcoholism in older adults can be underdiagnosed or overlooked for a variety of reasons, including the normalization of drinking in old age, the perception that alcohol problems only affect younger populations, and health professionals’ lack of awareness or training in identifying substance abuse in older adults.

Financial Resources

Older folks may have higher spare income, allowing them to consume more alcohol. Alcohol may become more affordable and available to this population as their financial situation improves.

While the prevalence of alcoholism in older individuals is increasing, not all older adults engage in problematic drinking. Many elderly people drink responsibly and in moderation, or they opt not to drink at all.

Studies That Show Alcoholism in Older Adults is Rising

Some studies have been conducted over the years that show the rates of alcoholism in adults rising. If you are looking for more information, this may be a great place to start. 

  • Han, B., Gfroerer, J., & Colliver, J. (2009). Associations between duration of illicit drug use and health conditions. This study looked at alcohol and other substance usage among elderly persons in the United States. It discovered an upward trend in alcohol abuse and dependency among persons aged 50 and up.
  • Moore, A. A., Whiteman, E. J., & Ward, K. T. (2007). Risks of combined alcohol/medication use in older adults. The American Journal of Geriatric Pharmacotherapy, 5(1), 64-74. This study emphasized the dangers of combining alcohol and drugs in older persons. It stressed the importance of healthcare practitioners being aware of potential interactions and side effects.
  • Blow, F. C., & Barry, K. L. (2012). Alcohol and substance abuse in older adults. Current Psychiatry Reports, 14(4), 310-319. This review article discusses risk factors, consequences, and treatment considerations for alcohol and substance abuse in older persons. It emphasizes the importance of developing focused preventative and intervention measures for this demographic.
  • Brennan, P. L., Schutte, K. K., & Moos, R. H. (2010). Pain and use of alcohol to manage pain: prevalence and 3-year outcomes among older problem and non-problem drinkers. Addiction, 105(2), 342-350. This study looked at the connection between pain, alcohol use, and outcomes in older persons. It was discovered that older persons who used alcohol to manage pain had worse outcomes over a three-year period than those who did not use alcohol to manage pain.

These studies shed light on the rising incidence of alcoholism among older persons and show the need for additional study and tailored interventions to successfully address this issue.

Let Sanctuary Foundation Help You

To address the rising prevalence of alcoholism among older persons, better awareness, early detection, and access to appropriate treatment and support services are required. Healthcare workers, caregivers, and family members play an important role in identifying indicators of alcoholism and offering required treatments or referrals to specialized treatment programs. This is where Sanctuary Foundation can help. Contact us today. We would love to talk to you about how we can help.