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Alcoholism in the Elderly a Growing Problem

Posted Jan 05 2010 6:09am

Elderly people with drinking problems consume significantly more alcohol than their younger counterparts according to a study presented at the Gerontological Society of America.

Younger alcoholics typically consume between 25 and 35 drinks per week, according to a report from Ohio State University. Older adults binge drink an average of 19 times per year, compared with 13-15 times per year for younger adults.

The psychological effects of aging can play a major role in problem drinking among the elderly, according to researchers. Alcoholism in older adults can severely aggravate chronic conditions such as diabetes.

So as you visit elderly loved ones please be on the lookout for signs of self-abuse including alcoholism. According to nurse Kathleen Blanchard here are some of the signs of alcoholism in the elderly.

Drinking and driving, passing out, mood changes, and continuing to drink despite health complications and potential dangers are signs and symptoms of alcoholism in the elderly. Other warning signs of alcoholism among elders include frequent falls, confusion, and self-neglect.

If you suspect an elder is having difficulty controlling alcohol consumption, offer support, and maintain a non-judgmental attitude. Signs and symptoms of alcohol abuse in the elderly may be difficult to recognize, and are often attributed to other causes associated with aging. Many elders hide signs of alcoholism from family and loved ones.

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