Alcoholism : A Serious Health Issue Essay

1386 Words Aug 8th, 2015 6 Pages
Alcoholism is a serious health issue that affects millions of people and their loved ones every day. “Alcohol dependence refers to a medical illness characterized by loss of control, preoccupation with alcohol, continued alcohol use despite adverse consequences, and physiological symptoms such as withdrawal and tolerance” (Dawoodi & De Sousa, 2012, 208). Unfortunately, as more people continue to get older they come to rely on alcohol for the perceived physical and psychological benefits (Dawoodi & De Sousa, 2012). In the last decade, there has been an increase in the amount of elderly people turning to alcoholism to help them cope with loneliness, deteriorating health, and hopelessness (Dawoodi & De Sousa, 2012). Of the 8 million alcoholics in the United States, 80,000 of them are seniors (Menninger, 2012). Alcohol consumption among the elderly often remains under-recognized and overlooked by doctors resulting in more numerous serious physical complications (Dawoodi & De Sousa, 2012). This is due to the fact that doctors often confuse the signs of alcoholism with the normal deterioration of mental and physical faculties that often occurs with age (Watts, 2007). For those individuals who are on several prescribed medications, there can be a toxic effect when mixed with alcohol. Primary care physicians need to screen not just young, but all patients, to identify hazardous drinkers in order to get them the interventions they need and to treat them accordingly. Generally,…

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