Risk Factors that Influence Alcohol Abuse in Seniors

By | November 25, 2011

The elderly have are the important group of people who require special attention with respect to their health issues. However, many of the older adults are used to alcohol abuse. Several risk factors are associated to influence alcohol abuse in seniors. They include stress factors like loss of spouses or loved ones, cessation of employment, loss of income, diminished social networks, and increased health problems.

At the older age, the most common thing everyone faces is loneliness. It may be of many reasons. Older adults often feel bored with retirement. They lose their work-related relationships, friends and support networks. Also, the losses occurred by relocation or death of spouse also tends to make then feel isolated. This loneliness is considered to be the major risk factor that makes the elderly to use alcohol.

Older adults suffer from different physical and mental health issues. Unexplained and unbearable pain due to physical health problems tend them to seek for self-medication. As a result, they drink alcohol to get relief from the pain. Sometimes, they often mix the prescription drugs with alcohol and consume. Also, to get away from depression, stress, and other mental issues, they get addicted to alcohol. Certain physiological changes accompanying the aging process can affect vision and ambulation. With these, they are unable to drive and are always dependent on others. These factors also influence them to take alcohol. Financial problems with decreased income due to retirement or death of a spouse also increases stress levels thereby rising the risk of alcohol abuse.

With hormonal changes at menopause, elderly women often get habituated to drink and this further increases the chances of breast cancer. Depression, stress and other factors also influence older women to alcohol abuse.