alcoholism in elderly population

Alcoholism in the Elderly Population: Physical and Cognitive Impact

While there is much consumer health focus upon the effects of alcoholism, many senior adults, those over age 65, continue to consume alcohol throughout retirement. Statistically, the number of senior adults consuming alcohol has not been quantified. However, based on the impact of aging and progressive diseases, it is believed alcohol consumption is a leading factor in health complications among the elderly population with many developing these complications due to years of alcohol consumption. You can learn more about private drug rehab facilities at

As a senior adult who consumes alcohol on a regular basis, there are some key statistics to consider. First, it is believed the elderly adult population, as a general rule, carries a lower amount of body water naturally. Because of this fact, the elderly population may experience a high blood alcohol concentration (BAC) level due to an inability to dilute the alcohol consumed. To this, the alcohol consumption is also compounded by the effect of complications associated with tolerance: as age increases, tolerance decreases. The result, therefore, is a complication in which there may be an experience of increased lack of coordination quite sooner than in the past when drinking of the same level occurred.

Because aging places a slow deterioration on the brain, many senior adult, who consume alcohol, will notice a compound effect. Alcohol mimics the same complications found in the aging brain so, when the two factors are combined (alcohol and aging), the effect can be exponentially greater. This, of course, is the short term effect. Long term, alcohol can advance the progress at which aging occurs, slowing deteriorating brain tissue. In fact, the area of the brain most often first compromised, in the elderly adult who consumes alcohol, is the frontal lobe which controls activities such as inhibition and personality expression. With age, as the frontal lobe is impacted, there may be a progressive complication as that found in dementia or even Alzheimer’s.

So what do you do when you or a loved one is involved in the continued consumption of alcohol as an elderly adult? Because long term consumption of alcohol, that which occurred over many years or even decades, is very difficult to treat, most elderly individuals do not benefit well from treatment programs for alcoholism. Instead, it is best to address the potential complications associated with alcohol consumption. While alcohol consumption should be avoided, it may simply not be a lifestyle choice made by the elderly individual who drinks. So, instead, focus on diet and exercise as a way in which to offset the deterioration of bone health and the deterioration of cognitive function. Practicing mental and cognitive exercises, eating a balanced diet and obtaining plenty of exercise are all important to managing the long term health complications of the elder individual who consumes alcohol regularly

Alcoholism in the Elderly Population: Physical and Cognitive Impact

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