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Emerging trends in alcohol use disorder among older adults

Emerging trends in alcohol use disorder among older adults

19 January | 0 Comments | By Rachael

Older adults are more susceptible to alcohol due to physiological changes caused by aging. In an elderly population, an increase in the intake of alcohol is linked to alterations in heart structure and function. Previous studies have suggested that even moderate consumption of alcohol can affect the heart of senior citizens.

Now, a recent study published in the journal Drug and Alcohol Dependence found that alcohol is the most common psychoactive substance among older adults. This elderly population is subject to unique risks of alcohol use even at lower volumes when compared to younger adults. Factors such as the burden of increased chronic diseases and medications also contribute to the set of risks faced by older adults who regularly consume alcohol.

Increase in binge drinking among older men and women

Researchers from the New York University conducted the study to look into alcohol use disorders in the elderly population. For the study, the researchers analyzed data collected by the National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH) between 2005 and 2014. Trends of self-reported past-month binge alcohol use and alcohol use disorders were investigated among adults aged 50 years or older. Main findings of the research are:

  • There was a significant increase in past-year alcohol use, past-month alcohol use, past-month binge drinking, and cases of alcohol use disorders.
  • The prevalence of binge alcohol use and alcohol use disorders were higher among men as compared to women.
  • Binge alcohol use and alcohol use disorder increased among women.

Researchers also added that as women age, they are likely to experience a larger impact of physiological changes in lean body mass compared to men. They may also experience adverse effects of alcohol in lower amounts. In addition, the researchers were alarmed by the significant increase in binge drinking among older women.

Both men and women expose themselves to risky sexual situations while drinking alcohol. But researchers affirm that women are at a higher risk. Binge drinking or episodic heavy drinking not only results in unintentional health consequences but also brings about socially embarrassing or regretful behavior.

The results of the study also raised public health concerns. The researchers discovered significant increases in binge alcohol use among older adults who reported poor health coupled with other chronic conditions. This population is also susceptible to the negative consequences of alcohol use as it can exacerbate their chronic disease management, derail recovery management and increase the risk of injuring themselves.

The researchers also advocate the need for health care providers to be aware of such trends of unhealthy alcohol use, especially among older women and following a screening process for unhealthy alcohol use as part of regular medical care for the elderly population.

Making the right call to stay away from alcohol

If you or a loved one is struggling with alcohol abuse, it is imperative to seek professional help. The first line of treatment is detoxification, which is essential to remove toxins from the body before proceeding to the next stage of treatment. The Detox Facilities Texas can connect you to state-of-the-art detox centers that offer the best evidence-based treatment plans. Call at our 24/7 helpline number (866) 671-4308 to know about one of the best rapid detox centers in Texas. You can also chat online with our medical representatives to know more about detox centers in Texas.