Recognising a Drinking Problem in the Elderly

Many of the elderly enjoy a drink, perhaps a night-time tipple, or a gin in the garden on a summer’s day. However, when does this become more than just a way to relax and more of a problematic way of coping? Some symptoms of addiction in the elderly can get confused with other age-related issues, and in the later stages of life, we already have a lower tolerance. 

Developing a drinking problem later in life is unfortunately quite common. The death of someone close, moving out of your home, or health issues can lead people to experience depression – leading to self-medicating with alcohol.

It is advised that an elderly person (someone over the age of 65) consumes at maximum just one or two alcoholic beverages per day, with a total of seven over a week. 

It is never too late to seek help for alcohol addiction. If you suspect a loved one has an addiction, then you can speak to an alcohol rehab centre to discuss your options. 

What are the risks of drinking too much at an old age?

Over-consuming alcohol at an elderly age will see the effects a lot quicker than a few decades back. The body will bear the brunt of this – in the short term, dehydration and weight gain. There are a lot of calories in alcoholic beverages, so unless you’re keeping extremely active, the effects will be visible. This can lead to high blood pressure also. 

Deeper within our bodies, with excessive drinking, the pancreas can become inflamed. This leads to an increased risk of diabetes. Our hearts will also be affected – having a knock-on effect on our circulation. There are also multiple issues with the liver which can arise. 

 How do we recognise alcohol addiction in the elderly?

To quite simply put it, it can be very difficult to spot. This is because the effects of alcohol can be confused with other changes a loved one might go through as they age. Signs such as confusion, clumsiness, and forgetfulness might be ringing alarm bells for a new medication – or could even be confused with early stages of dementia.

If your loved one has always been quite a big social drinker, it will also be harder to spot that they now have a reduced tolerance, or that they are drinking more than usual.

For those who are using alcohol as a means of self-medication, you might never see it due to them keeping their addiction private. You will have to be alert and use compassionate observation to know when support is needed. 

Alcohol misuse within the elderly is one of the many areas which the help of a carer can also offer some extra support. They will also help to ensure that your loved one has the best quality of life as they overcome their problem. This team with online rehab treatment can help turn their life around.