Late-Onset Alcoholism: Causes, Consequences and Treatment
The issue of alcoholism in elderly people can result in dreadful conditions. Over the last few decades, this issue has gradually grown among older adults. According to studies, by 2020, the number of alcohol-addicted older adults will almost double. Many older people basically ignore alcoholism, which results in anxiety, depression and frustration as they age. Alcohol abuse not only brings unexpected physical changes, but it also affects physical and mental health.
When older adults become addicted to alcohol, they become more dependent on others. To end the addiction, they need professional help in a rehab facility. The treatment designed by the specialists will help them break the addiction and enjoy a long, successful recovery.
Physical Symptoms of Late-Stage Alcoholism
Usually, your friends and family members are the ones to notice a change in your drinking habits. Many people think if they’ve been drinking alcohol for a long time, they’re used to it and their bodies can handle it. Even if your drinking habits don’t change as you get older, your body does. The same way you can’t eat as much of your favorite foods as you used to, your body doesn’t metabolize alcohol the same way it did.
It’s important to recognize the symptoms of late-stage alcoholism in yourself or a loved one. If untreated, alcoholism can cause mental physical and emotional health issues.
A few common symptoms of alcoholism in the elderly include:
– Hiding the truth about exact number of drinks consumed
– Drinking excessively to forget a loss or cope with anxiety
– Alcohol consumption with prescriptions and lying about medications
– Increased level of irritability over unimportant matters
– Putting others or themselves at risk because of their alcohol consumption
– Stashing or hiding liquor bottles so nobody can find them
– Showing indications of drunkenness, such as having slurred speech and the smell of alcohol on their clothes or breath
If you recognize these signs in someone you love, it could mean late-stage alcoholism is setting in. Like with any addiction, the sooner you get help to overcome the addiction, the better the outcome will be.
What Causes Late-Onset Alcoholism?
Numerous factors could be responsible for growing alcohol abuse in older adults. With the growing age of a person, they’re going to face a lot of transformations in their life, such as health issues, financial issues and loneliness.
A few causes that result in late-onset alcoholism include:
– Losing a friend, whether it’s due to death, health problems or moving away
– Loneliness due to Empty Nest Syndrome as the kids grow up and move away
– Poor health conditions, like diabetes, vision or hearing complications and heart disease
– Major life traumas, such as a close friend or spouse’s illness or death
– Experiencing boredom or lack of socialization after retiring from work
– Sadness due to a property loss
Alcohol works in the pleasure centers of the brain to develop an addiction. Although it may seem to reduce anxiety and improve mood, alcohol acts as a depressant. Older adults may increase their consumption of alcohol as a coping mechanism for difficult changes in life, but this isn’t a solution. Alcoholism can be an unpleasant way to live out your older years — not to mention, it can contribute to premature death.
Tranquil Shores: One of the Best Treatment Centers for Alcohol-Addicted Older Adults
Tranquil Shores is a leading alcohol rehab center that helps older adults quit drinking. Not everyone who comes to Tranquil Shores has the same story of early substance abuse that got progressively worse. Here is just one story of alcohol abuse in an older adult.
Meet Tom C., a man in his early 50’s who never abused alcohol or drugs until he was in his mid-forties. “I was at a club one night having a few drinks when suddenly someone shoved this powder up my nose!” The drug was Methamphetamine (also called meth, crystal, chalk, and ice, among other terms) it is an extremely addictive stimulant drug that is chemically similar to amphetamine. It takes the form of a white, odorless, bitter-tasting crystalline powder. “From that moment on I was hooked,” said Tom.
Tom suffered from shyness and general social anxiety for most of his childhood and adult life until he started using meth. Methamphetamine increases the amount of the neurotransmitter dopamine, leading to high levels of that chemical in the brain. Dopamine is involved in reward, motivation, the experience of pleasure, and motor function. Methamphetamine’s ability to release dopamine rapidly in reward regions of the brain produces the euphoric “rush” or “flash” that many users experience, according to DrugFacts.
Repeated methamphetamine use can easily lead to addiction—a chronic, relapsing disease characterized by compulsive drug seeking and use. “My meth addiction leads to behavior I would never have believed I was capable of including dealing the drug and ultimately serving jail time.” “I knew it was now or never when I checked in to Tranquil Shores, but I never, in my wildest dreams, thought that I would be given a chance to begin my life again, clean, sober and happy!”
Call Tranquil Shores to Begin Fighting Your Addiction
It’s never too late to fight addiction. If you or a loved one is suffering from substance abuse and addiction, Tranquil Shores can get your life back on track. Call now to speak to one of our counselors about making that first step to a better life.