A large number of seniors report binge drinking or drinking 4-5+ drinks in 2 hours at least once in the last 30 days. Furthermore, other seniors report heavy drinking, meaning that they’ve binge drank on five or more occasions or more in the past 30 days. Learn the dangers of substance abuse, especially alcohol, among older adults, and how Serenity House Detox & Recovery Houston can help by calling 866.516.8356.
Taking alcohol makes your body absorb less water than usual. Seniors are especially vulnerable to the dehydrating effect of alcohol indulgence. In fact, many already suffer some form of dehydration, even without considering alcohol intake.
Many older adults going to ERs show signs of dehydration because the body loses its water retention ability with age. Additionally, kidney function declines as we get older, which can exacerbate dehydration when an older adult consumes too much alcohol.
Increased Alcohol Sensitivity
As you age, your body grows less tolerant to alcohol. Heavy drinking and binge drinking pose more significant risks to the elderly compared with younger people. With age, the body breaks down alcohol less efficiently. Therefore, the substance can stay in your system longer and increase the likelihood of alcohol poisoning.
Because lean body mass also declines with age, there is less muscle to absorb alcohol, and so older adults feel intoxicated much faster. Once intoxicated, there is a higher risk for unintentional injuries to self and others, such as falls, fractures, or car accidents.
Older adults often take multiple medications to manage chronic conditions and the usual challenges of aging. Alcohol changes drug serum concentrations and can increase their potential toxicity or reduce efficacy. As a result, substance abuse and alcoholism in old age is incredibly risky. Some examples of drugs that older adults should not take with alcohol include:
- Acetaminophen, aspirin, and other pain medication
- Cough, cold, or allergy medications (antihistamines)
- Sedatives (sleeping pills)
- Prescription painkillers
- Anti-anxiety or antidepressant medication
- Specific herbal remedies (chamomile, lavender, valerian, St. John’s Wort, and Kava)
However, many over-the-counter or prescription drugs interact adversely with alcohol to release dangerous and even deadly toxins. Once alcoholism in old age sets in, an older adult enters the red zone, walking the thin line between life and death.
Older adults are also fighting chronic health conditions, which can be exacerbated by heavy alcohol intake or alcohol addiction. Alcohol can increase the likelihood of developing diabetes, hypertension, liver failure/problems, memory/cognitive problems, mood disorders, and osteoporosis, among others. If already present, alcohol can make them worse.
There Is Help for Alcoholism in Old Age
The experts recommend that healthy adults with no chronic conditions and not taking medication should limit alcohol intake to 7 drinks weekly with no more than three drinks in one day. If you or your loved one struggles with alcoholism in old age, there is immediate help at Serenity House Detox & Recovery Houston. Our programs include:
- Medical detox program
- Dual diagnosis treatment program
- Residential rehab program
- Addiction therapy services
The dual diagnosis treatment program is especially helpful if you’re dealing with alcohol addiction and other mental health conditions. We have robust treatments that include individual, group, and family therapy. These treatments help you deal with anxiety, depression, grief, and other precursors of mental health conditions.
Do You Need Help with Alcoholism? Reach Out to Serenity House Detox & Recovery Houston Today
If you’re struggling with alcoholism in old age, it is doubly challenging to return to sobriety on your own. Reach out to us at Serenity House Detox & Recovery Houston and let us help you walk the miles to recovery. Once you are sober, you will enjoy life in retirement and appreciate having more time to enjoy life’s pleasures. Your recovery journey must start somewhere; reach out to Serenity House Detox & Recovery Houston today at 866.516.8356.