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Alcohol And Its Ill Effects Over Elders

Drinking can become a problem for anyone at any age. It is common for family members, friends, and health care professionals to ignore their concerns about drinking problems in senior citizens. This may be because drinking problems in older people may be mistaken for conditions associated with age. Still, it is important to take note of problem drinking in senior citizens, because the process of aging changes how the body handles alcohol-the same amount of alcohol can have a larger effect as someone ages.

Facts About Alcohol and Aging

  • Research has suggested that, with age, people become more sensitive to alcohol.
  • Alcohol use can worsen some medical conditions like high blood pressure, ulcers, and diabetes.
  • When mixed with alcohol, many medicines can be dangerous. Here are some examples
  1. Aspirin can cause stomach and intestinal bleeding.
  2. Medicines to control the symptoms of cold and allergies, called antihistamines, often cause drowsiness. When mixed with alcohol, this effect is magnified.
  3. Using alcohol with large doses of acetaminophen, which is found in many painkillers such as Tylenol, increases the risk of liver damage.
  4. Certain medicines, such as cough syrup and laxatives, have a high alcohol content in them.

Effects of Alcohol

Drinking even a small amount of alcohol can impair judgment, coordination, and reaction time. These effects may lead to dangerous work and household accidents such as falls and hip fractures. Perhaps more seriously, drinking adds to the risk of car accidents.

Over time, heavy drinking can cause certain types of cancer, cirrhosis of the liver, immune system disorders, and brain damage. Alcohol causes changes in the heart and blood vessels, dulling pain that might be a warning sign for a serious medical problem such as a heart attack. Drinking can also cause confusion and forgetfulness in senior citizens, which may be mistaken for signs of Alzheimer’s disease. People with diabetes are also at a higher risk when they drink-alcohol affects blood sugar levels.People who abuse alcohol may also be increasing their risk of serious conflicts with family, friends, and coworkers.

How to Know if Someone Has a Drinking Problem

Two patterns of drinking are common: early onset and late onset. In some cases, if the person has been a heavy drinker for a long time alcohol may begin to affect his body differently, causing stronger effects with the same amount of alcohol. In other cases, a person starts to abuse alcohol later in life. Depression in older adults is often linked to alcohol abuse. In the beginning, alcohol can provide relief from stress; over time, however, alcohol causes trouble and bodily harm rather than relaxation.

drinking regularly can’t be related to the drinking problems. There are some signals that can enable you or a loved one to get help. Consider finding help if you or a loved one:

  • Use alcohol to calm down or to reduce worrying or depression.
  • Quickly gulp down drinks.
  • Often have more than one drink per day.
  • Cover up or lie about drinking habits.
  • Hurt yourself or others while drinking.
  • Need more alcohol than usual to feel its effects.
  • Become irritable, resentful, or unreasonable when sober.
  • Develop medical, social, or financial worries caused by drinking.

Getting Help

Studies suggest that problem drinkers of an older age are just as likely to benefit from treatment as are problem drinkers of a younger age. Your doctor can provide advice about your health, drinking, and treatment options. You may also find help at the local health department or social services agencies.

Many treatment options are available. Some have been in use for a long time, such as 12-step programs. Others involve detoxification; using prescription medications to prevent a return to drinking once you have stopped; and counseling, both group and individual. Some newer programs help people with drinking problems to learn which emotions or situations trigger the urge to drink, and they teach people to cope without alcohol. Family support is very important, so many programs work with married couples and family members as part of the treatment process.

About Author
Michael Vaughan is a social activist who is working to determine suitable standards for all home care centers. For about two years he has focused on issues of home care centers.For more details and any concerned help you can visit: www.thecaringspace.com

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