Alcoholism In Elderly

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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 …show more content…
But, it affects the elderly more often than the young (Zee & Bloom, 2006). In elderly individuals, insomnia may have more than one underlying cause or contributing factor (Zee & Bloom, 2006). Insomnia and sleep disorders are considered to be a natural part of aging that elderly individuals must endure and therefore is undertreated (Zee & Bloom, 2006). Psychiatric illnesses, such as depression, anxiety, mood disorders, and substance abuse are all conditions that are thought to be causes of insomnia (Zee, & Bloom, 2006). As people get older, their sleep time decreases to about six hours per night due to incontinence or frequent urination and daytime napping (Dawoodi & De Sousa, 2012). Because the elderly have increased sleep latency and wake up frequently during the night, their sleep is less effective and restorative (Dawoodi & De Sousa, 2012). In order to help them overcome insomnia and other sleep disruptions, they usually turn to alcohol to help them relax and go to sleep (Dawoodi & De Sousa, 2012). Unfortunately, alcohol may prevent them from experiencing the deep sleep that they need which can have undesirable consequences during the day such as lethargy and increased irritability (Dawoodi & De Sousa, 2012). It is important for doctors screen older individuals for the presence of sleep disorders as there are effective treatments available and sleep impairment may have a negative impact on an elderly person’

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