Alcohol problems among the elderly

Alcohol problems can be seen in several people at different ages. However, it is a fact that families, friends and healthcare workers usually fail to notice the potential troubles with alcohol of the elderly. Meanwhile, the number of people facing drinking problems keep increasing yearly. In Netherlands, figures have shown that the year of 2015 has witnessed a dramatic increase of 10 percent in the number of elderly alcoholics, compared to last year’s figures. Up to now, there are between 150 thousand and 200 thousand seniors who are heavily addicted to drink.

Alcohol problems among the elderly
Alcohol problems among the elderly

What are the risks of drinking too much?

The elderly are extremely sensitive to alcohol’s health effects. Consequently, with the same amount of alcohol, the elderly can be affected more greatly and quickly than the young.

– The elderly who have a habit of drinking too much over a long time may encounter some serious health problems and perhaps, the most dangerous one seems to be cancer. In fact, the excess drinking is likely to result in some certain forms of cancer, especially cancer of the esophagus, mouth, throat, and voice box. The risk of arising or dying from cancer is much higher among the old people whose immunity systems are not working properly.

–  Moderate drinking may be good for our heart. However, heavy drinking in a long time increases the risk for high blood pressure, heart disease, and some kinds of stroke.

– The heavy consumption of alcohol has negative effects on our liver. Liver inflammation (alcoholic hepatitis) or severe liver scarring (cirrhosis) are serious illnesses caused by alcohol and lead to the death of many people every year.

– Many seniors are facing mental problems due to drinking too much alcohol. Alcohol harms parts of the brain that control movement, speech, judgment, and memory. If the elderly continue to drink for years, they may show some symptoms of drunkenness such as difficulty walking, slurred speech, memory lapses, and impulsive behavior.

Why the elderly consume too much alcohol?

– After retirement, old people have more time to hang out with their friends, and the chance they drink in a small party or meal is quite high.

– According to many seniors, they usually find themselves isolated with their family members or friends when they are getting old. To reduce the feeling of loneliness, emptiness, they gradually develop a drinking habit every day.

Alternative Treatments for Alcoholism

– Meditation

Some people choose meditation as a mean to replace drinking with a more positive stress relief method. Meditation involves taking a few moments to maintain focus. Long-term, heavy drinkers are recommended to process meditation by repeating a positive thought in their minds, for example “I will adopt a healthier lifestyle” or “I am able to quit drinking”.

– Acupuncture

According to the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM), Acupuncture, a traditional Chinese medicine practice can be used to quit drinking by balancing our body parts, especially our liver.

– Yoga

While alcoholism can make people feel out of control, yoga is beneficial since it can bring the alcoholics a sense of well-being by careful breath plus slow and gentle movements to stretch as well as tone the body.

– Light Therapy

Those who are living with alcoholism usually suffer from sleeplessness. Therefore, they can learn how to utilize bright-light therapy which is able to reduce depression as well as promote a more natural sleep cycle.

– Herbs

It is largely admitted that the using herbs helps reduce alcohol consumption. However, the elderly should take the herbs under the instruction of the doctor.

– Nutritional Counseling

According to the Cleveland Clinic, almost the alcohol addicts are malnourished in some ways. A proper nutritional therapy can lead to a healthy eating choices for the patients and consequently, boost more energy to resist temptations to drink.

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