Drug abuse problems can affect your health, emotional well-being, and social relations. Worse still, continuous abuse can result in severe illnesses and increased medical costs if not controlled. Unfortunately, drug use among older adults is unrecognized as a significant issue.
Though illicit drug use declines as people age, almost 1 million older adults ( aged 65 or older) suffer substance use disorder (SUD), according to 2018 data. SUD has become a major public health concern among older adults, and it is an indicator of increased drug abuse among the baby boom generation (those born between 1946 and 1964).
Most Commonly Abused Drug by Older Adults
Despite the increasing rates of prescription drug misuse among older adults, alcohol remains the most commonly abused drug by people aged 65 and older. About 65% of older people are involved in high-risk drinking, and a tenth of them binge drink. Binge drinking is drinking five or more drinks on the same occasion or within some hours for men, and four or more drinks on the same period by women.
Alcohol is one of the common addictions, with most admissions to substance use treatment relating to it. Luckily, recovery is possible when you get treatment with America’s Rehab Campuses. Alcohol use disorder affects many older people and puts them at higher risk for many health problems.
Health Issues among Older People Related to Alcohol
Older adults can suffer from various alcohol drinking problems, especially those on other medications, have underlying health issues, or drink heavily. Some of the health facing seniors who drink include:
Consumption of alcohol affects how the body reabsorbs water. Alcohol lowers the amount of water the body reabsorbs than it would without alcohol in the system. Older people are more susceptible to dehydration due to alcohol, and many people in this age group already suffer some dehydration. Many senior citizens face dehydration due to inadequate intake of fluids.
Increased Sensitivity to Alcohol
As people age, the body’s tolerance to alcohol becomes low, making drinking riskier for the elderly. Aging causes the body to be less efficient at breaking down alcohol, causing the alcohol to remain in the system for a longer time. This increases the risk for car crashes, falls, and other unintentional injuries.
Other Health Issues
Some health problems are common among older people. Heavy drinking can increase the threat of many illnesses that the elderly are already at risk of contracting because of their age. Some of the alcohol-related health problems encountered by senior citizens include:
- High blood pressure
- Congestive heart problem
- Memory problems
- Liver problems
- Mood disorders
Bad interaction with medications
Chronic health issues tend to increase with age, and older adults are often on prescription drugs more than other age groups. These prescription, over-the-counter medicines and herbal remedies can be dangerous or even fatal when mixed with alcohol. Medications that can be dangerous when combined with alcohol include:
- Cough syrup
- Sleeping pills
- Anxiety and depression drugs
- Pain relieve drugs
It’s Not Late to Get Help
Heavy drinking can result in alcohol use disorder and other health problems. If you or your loved one is struggling with alcoholism, then alcohol rehab is a proven solution to achieve abstinence and regain health. Older adults require specialized care, and you can get tailored treatment programs at America’s Rehab Campuses.