Alcoholism And Substance Abuse Among The Elderly Essay

710 Words Jun 22nd, 2016 3 Pages
Millions of elderly people and their family members are affected by a common and often overlooked problem known as alcoholism. According to the Office of Alcohol and Substance Abuse “Alcohol and substance abuse among the elderly is a hidden or invisible national epidemic which affects nearly 10% of the country’s population” (“FYI,” 2016, par.1). This means that of the eight million alcoholics currently living in the United States, 80,000 of them are senior citizens. Over the last ten years, the number of elderly people turning to alcoholism to help them cope with loneliness, depression, poor health, and hopelessness has risen (Dawoodi & De Sousa, 2012). Sadly, as more people continue to age they become dependent on alcohol because they believe it will have both physical and psychological benefits (Hirata, Nakano, Pinto, Litvoc, & Bottino, 2009). Caregivers and medical professionals often fail to recognize that an elderly person has an alcohol addiction problem which often results in many more serious physical complications (Hirata, Nakano, Pinto, Litvoc, & Bottino, 2009). This is especially true for those older people who take prescribed medications as there can be a lethal effect when these are mixed with alcohol. This oversight by caregivers may attributed to the fact that medical professionals sometimes mistake the signs and symptoms of alcohol abuse with the usual deterioration of both physical and mental capabilities that often occurs as we age (Dawoodi & De Sousa,…

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