Do Alcoholics Get Worse With Age?
September 8, 2021 , Agape Treatment Center
How Does Alcohol Affect Someone Over Time?
Getting in trouble or having consequences by drinking too much alcohol has affected many people worldwide. Just in the United States alone, it is estimated that upwards of 17 million people struggle with an alcohol use disorder. The large number is deeply concerning, especially if there is continuous use of alcohol because health problems related to alcoholism get worse with age. So if a person struggles with alcohol addiction, how does it affect someone over time?
How Does Alcohol Affect Those of Older Age?
Alcohol may affect older people differently than younger people. For example, some older people can feel a “high” euphoric feeling without increasing the alcohol they drink. However, this “high” can make them more susceptible to have accidents, including falls and fractures, and car crashes. Also, it is a fact that older women are more sensitive than men to the effects of alcohol.
Drinking too much alcohol over a long period can:
- Lead to different kinds of cancer, liver damage, immune system disorders, and brain damage
- Worsen some, already aging, health conditions like osteoporosis, diabetes, high blood pressure, stroke, ulcers, memory loss, and mood disorders
- Make some medical problems hard for doctors to find and treat, such as heart attacks, because alcohol causes changes in the heart and blood vessels, which can dull pain that might be a warning sign of a heart attack.
- Cause some older people that drink tend to be forgetful and confused—these symptoms could be mistaken for signs of Alzheimer’s disease.
According to a 2017 analysis done by the National Library of Medicine (NIH), alcohol use has steadily increased in the population age 60 and above over the past two decades, particularly among women. Data from the National Survey on Drug Use and Health indicate that approximately 20 percent of adults aged 60-64 and around 11 percent over age 65 report current binge drinking. Older adults can experience a variety of problems from drinking alcohol, especially those who:
- Take certain medications
- Have health problems
- Drink heavily
When there is already heath problems that arise when getting older and those who drink may exacerbate those problems and speed them up like the following:
Increased Sensitivity to Alcohol
Aging can lower the body’s tolerance for alcohol. As a result, older adults usually experience the effects of alcohol more quickly than when they were younger. This puts older adults at higher risks for falls, car crashes, and other unintentional injuries that may result from drinking.
Increased Health Problems
Certain health problems are common in aging older adults. Heavy drinking can make these problems worse, including:
- High blood pressure
- Congestive heart failure
- Liver problems
- Memory problems
- Mood disorders
Bad Interactions With Medications
The majority of older adults take medications. Many prescription and over-the-counter medications and herbal remedies can be dangerous or even deadly when mixed with alcohol. Medications that can interact badly with alcohol include:
- Cold and allergy medicine
- Cough syrup
- Sleeping pills
- Pain medication
- Anxiety or depression medicine
Drinking in moderation and acknowledging the guidelines for alcohol consumption can make a difference in ones health. According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, drinking is considered to be in the moderate or low-risk range for women at no more than three drinks in any one day and no more than seven drinks per Iten; it is no more than four drinks for men a day and no more than 14 drinks per week.
Take Back Your Life Today!
If you or a loved one feel they may have a problem with alcohol Agape Treatment Center can help. At Agape Drug & Alcohol Rehab in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, embrace a universal, unconditional love that transcends, that serves regardless of circumstances. We provide individuals all over the country with the opportunity to achieve the gift of lasting sobriety. Our evidence-driven therapy and counseling methods are based on a belief that every individual is worth living a joyous and rewarding life free from the bondage of addiction.
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Agape Treatment Center for substance abuse embraces a universal, unconditional love that transcends, that serves regardless of circumstances. We provide individuals all over the country with the opportunity to achieve the gift of lasting sobriety.