Elderly Alcohol Abuse
Elderly alcohol abuse is more widespread than one would believe. Alcohol addiction treatment for seniors can help someone you love get on the road to recovery today!
Elderly alcohol abuse is called the “hidden problem” in America. Many seniors hide their alcohol consumption from their family and others because they are ashamed of their drinking problem or they don’t want any backlash from loved ones. There are a variety of reasons why the elderly abuse alcohol and it may begin with the loss of a loved one and living in isolation and loneliness. Elderly alcohol abuse can also stem from living with a chronic or terminal disease, worrying about financial problems, the loss of mobility or living with chronic pain. All these problems can become overwhelming for the elderly, and drinking alcohol may feel like the only way to escape.
Sometimes family members may overlook or not realize that their loved one is abusing alcohol, but there are tell-tale signs that you can follow to help reveal if there is an elderly alcohol abuse problem. Some of these signs include:
- Slurred speech and a change in gait.
- Empty beer, wine or liquor bottles strewn around the house or in the trash.
- A change in appearance and hygiene practices.
- The smell of alcohol on the breath.
- Memory loss or confusion.
- Drinking alcohol before, during or after dinner.
- Behavioral changes or hostile behavior.
- Drinking regardless of warning labels on prescription medications.
- A loss of interest in activities once enjoyed.
If you suspect that your loved one is abusing alcohol, you should try to become more observant of his or her behavior and activities. Make sure they are not skipping meals and replacing them with alcohol. Take notice of what medications they are taking and if they are abusing the dosage. Try to find out if there is something on their mind that has them concerned. Here are some very startling facts about elderly alcohol abuse:
- About 2.5 million older adults in the U.S. have an alcohol or drug problem.
- Widowers over the age of seventy-five have the highest rate of alcoholism in the U.S. and elders are admitted to the hospital just as frequently for alcohol related issues as for heart attacks.
Elderly alcohol abuse is a growing problem in the U.S. and the availability of alcohol addiction treatment for seniors is substantial. There is a growing trend toward hosting interventions for elderly alcohol abuse among family members, and there are elderly alcoholism intervention strategies that you can follow. The intervention can include any person who has an interest in the elder and his recovery from alcohol abuse. The group should not be too large though, because elderly people tend to feel overwhelmed among large groups. It is best to hire an interventionist professional to lead the intervention because they know how to steer the conversation and manage difficult emotional issues that the elder may be facing.
The interventionist can also provide information for alcohol addiction treatment for seniors. Specific words like “addict” or “alcoholic” should be avoided because they can be alarming to the elder and he may shut down and refuse further participation in the intervention. Discussions about how many drinks they have in a day, having a shortage of their monthly medications and spending a lot of their money on alcohol should be approached in a delicate manner. Avoid making the elder feel guilty, ashamed or embarrassed about their problem, but instead offer your love and support to help them. Your intervention specialist will know what elderly alcoholism intervention strategies should be used, so allow him to steer the conversation. An intervention is a great way to begin alcohol addiction treatment for seniors.
Once the elder is ready to receive help to overcome his alcohol addiction, he should be placed in a certified rehab facility. Elderly alcohol withdrawal has its own unique set of challenges that should be managed by a professional medical team of addiction experts. Depending on the severity of the addiction and the elder’s advancing age, he may experience delirium or seizures during the detox process, but the use of medications such as benzodiazepines often help with these complications.
Adverse functional and cognitive problems may also occur during elderly alcohol withdrawal. An experienced and knowledgeable medical team can help the elder navigate through the elderly alcohol withdrawal process. They can administer medications to ease withdrawal symptoms and slow down the withdrawal process if necessary. Your loved one will receive the proper care to overcome his addiction in a certified rehab facility that offers specialized alcohol addiction treatment for seniors.
If you or a loved one needs help with abuse and/or treatment, please call the White Sands Treatment Center at (877) 855-3470. Our addiction specialists can assess your recovery needs and help you get the addiction treatment that provides the best chance for your long-term recovery.