Older Adult Chronic Alcoholism Effects and Recovery
Posted On October 1, 2017
Senior Adult Problem Drinking Recovery
At Arrowhead Lodge Recovery, we work extensively with older men recovering from alcoholism and addiction. We have helped clients age 65+ recover from chronic alcoholism. As a residential-onlygender specificaddiction treatment center, our average client is 45+ years old.
Arrowhead lodge Recovery Residential-Only Rehab for Mature and Older Men | Our Average Client Age is 45 – 65
Good News – Alcoholism Recovery Possible at Any Age
The good news: There is no age limit regarding recovery from alcoholism and addiction.
Anyone at any age can recover with proper addiction treatment, rehab and recovery support – and the strong intent to achieve sobriety.
Alcohol Problems Affect Increasing Numbers of Adults 55+
Because of our large and aging baby boomer population, researchers anticipate increasing incidence of late life problem drinking. Older adults (including baby boomers) experiencing multiple chronic health conditions and depression are nearly ﬁve times as likely to be problem drinkers as older adults with the same conditions and no depression.
The NIH (National Institute of Health), in a report on co-occuring disorders in older adults, reveals that a national 2008 survey found that about 40 percent of adults ages 65 and older drink alcohol.
Does alcohol consumption have different physical and intoxication effects in those over age 55?
Because of age-related physical changes, the same amount of alcohol that previously had little effect in men in their 20’s – can cause intoxication in those age 50+. For a given dose of alcohol, the concentration of alcohol in the blood system is greater in an older person than in a younger person.
Older adults usually experience the effects of alcohol more quickly than when they were younger. This puts older adults at higher risks for falls, car crashes, and other unintentional injuries that may result from drinking.
Older Adults Often Reluctant to Seek Alcohol Recovery Treatment
Findings in a Late Life Drinking Behavior study suggest that older adults are reluctant to identify themselves as having drinking problems. And therefore delay treatment until their health problems and stressful life contexts require it.
This highlights the importance of identifying and treating senior adult problem drinking early.
Recommendations for Medical Care Providers
It has been recommended that as a part of complete medical treatment for older adults, physicians ask more questions during patient appointments.
Older adults can experience a variety of problems from drinking alcohol, especially those who:
• Take certain medications • Have health problems • Drink heavily
Chronic Alcoholism Health and Cognitive Impacts
One study concluded that sleep disturbances, especially insomnia, may be a potential factor in the development of late-life alcohol problems or in precipitating relapse (Oslin and Liberto, 1995).
Chronic alcoholism can cause serious, irreversible changes in brain function. This is more likely to be seen in older adults who have a long history of alcoholism. Many brain changes from alcohol abuse are reversible. Even if some brain function has been damaged, improvement is still possible with sobriety.
Although alcohol can negatively affect a person of any age, the interaction of age-related physiological changes and the consumption of alcohol can trigger or make worse serious health problems among older adults, including:
Increased risk of hypertension, cardiac arrhythmia, myocardial infarction, and cardiomyopathy
Increased risk of hemorrhagic stroke
Impaired immune system and capability to combat infection and cancer
Cirrhosis and other liver diseases
Decreased bone density
Depression, anxiety, and other mental health problems
How to Get Help for Problem Drinking and Alcoholism
We use a multi-disciplinary addiction treatment approach implemented by licensed professionals. The Arrowhead Lodge Recovery Staff includes a Physician-Addictionologist, Addiction Psychiatrist, Physician Board Certified in Pain Medicine, Doctor of Clinical Psychology, Registered Nurse, several Licensed Therapists, and an addiction Nutritionist.
We assist our clients in finding their personal connection to the spiritual. Through years of experience, we believe in the power of spirituality in the addiction healing process. We assist our clients in discovering their unique path to living a more authentic and joyful life. See our article on Mindfulness Meditation – The 10th Step.