Risky Drinking – Alcohol Misuse in the Over 50s

Since the most recent Covid virus strains appear to be less deadly than previous ones, governments throughout the world are developing policies and health precautions to allow the world to reopen after being briefly closed during a pandemic that has had a profound effect on so many people's lives. Finally, things are getting back to normal, or at least the "new normal. “Now that we're free, we're starting to notice the long- term effects of months of confinement and isolation, as well as the fallout from such a prolonged time of diminished access to essential health, welfare, and social services.

The state of people's mental health is one area that has been severely impacted. Anxiety, sadness, substance misuse, and other mental health issues are on the rise, according to numerous research conducted on people of all ages, races, and socioeconomic statuses. Adults aged 50 and up appear to be a cohort experiencing a large increase in alcohol consumption. According to statistics issued by the UK charity With You, four million British adults aged 65 and up engaged in binge drinking at least once a week.

More than half of those over the age of 50 were drinking at risky levels, and over a quarter were considered to be high-risk or probably-dependent drinkers. People drink for a wide variety of reasons, including socializing with others, lowering tension and anxiety, relieving pain (both physical and mental), or just for fun. One's drinking style, frequency, and ability to cut back or stop are all greatly influenced by one's motivations for drinking. Because it acts on the central nervous system, alcohol impairs mental processing speed. Short-term consequences include things like slurred speech, coordination challenges, tiredness, sensory distortion, loss of consciousness, reduced inhibitions, and memory impairments.

The short-term effects of alcohol vary in intensity based on factors such as how much was consumed, how quickly it was consumed, the drinker's weight and sex, and whether or not they ate before drinking. The manner in which the body handles alcoholic beverages is affected by several variables. Since women often weigh less than men, they are more susceptible to negative impacts. This means that women's alcohol metabolism is slower than that of men, even when they consume the same amount of alcohol.

Due to the progressive nature of alcoholism, its effects and associated risks only worsen with continued consumption. Because of this, it's best to start treating alcohol use disorder as soon as possible. Weaning the body off alcohol, which can trigger unpleasant withdrawal symptoms, is the first step in treatment. Symptoms can range from sweating and a dry mouth to headaches, nausea, and vomiting.

These effects usually fade away 48 hours after the last drink was consumed. Delirium tremens, characterized by extreme hallucinations and delusions, affect about 5% of people going through alcohol withdrawal. Alcohol detoxing in a medical setting is the safest option because trained professionals can monitor and treat withdrawal symptoms.

When Compared to Younger Generations, Why do Those Age 50 And up Drink More Frequently?

There was already a striking disparity between the rates at which young and older people engaged in risky alcohol behaviours before the virus struck. More people reported drinking for emotional reasons than for social ones or for the sake of pleasure. It has been hypothesized that older persons had a more difficult time cutting back on drinking during the first months because they relied more on alcohol to alter their mood or improve how they felt.

Since there was little opportunity for social interaction, those who drank for social reasons found it much simpler to abstain from alcohol altogether or significantly cut back. The situation also plays a role, as people beyond the age of 50 are statistically less likely to have small children at home. Because some people were retired, they no longer had to worry about things like employment obligations.

They had more time on their hands and fewer reasons to abstain from alcohol because of this. A lack of financial resources was not an issue for many people their age because they had either reached the pinnacle of their employment or were getting a pension, and many older folks faced the lockdown alone because they had either lost a spouse or had seen their children grow up and move out. Now that the lockdowns are over and normal life has resumed, many people are still dealing with alcohol abuse issues and continue to do so on a daily basis, for whatever cause this may be.

Risky Drinking Habits

What you should look out for are several potentially dangerous drinking patterns:

If you "need" that first drink of the day or if you find yourself starting the day earlier and earlier, you may benefit from

  • Drinking earlier in the day
  • Greater quantities - if you've seen an increase in how much liquid you're consuming.
  • More than three days a week, you've been drinking, right?
  • Binge drinking occurs when a man consumes five or more alcohol units in two hours, and a woman consumes four or more.
  • Admitting that you have a drinking problem can be challenging; some may view alcohol abuse as a sign of weakness, while others may assume that those who are unable to control their drinking simply lack self-control or willpower.
Rehabilitation from Alcohol Dependence or Abuse

All of the known treatments include some sort of social interaction in some way. Talking about how you feel with someone, be it a therapist, a friend, or a family member, can be a big help and is frequently a crucial first step in making a positive change. An inpatient treatment centre like Abhasa , the best rehab in Asia, may be the greatest option for someone who is misusing alcohol and struggling to stop, alongside day-care programs, outpatient drop-in centres, and fellowship groups like Alcoholics Anonymous.

Inpatient alcohol treatment plan allows the patient to concentrate only on their recovery. This allows their body to rest and their minds to relax from the worries of daily life. Established private rehabs and specialised addiction centres use multiple therapeutic methods to treat alcohol abuse as well as underlying and co- occurring problems like anxiety, depression, and trauma.

Prepared by: Mr. Denny Prasad, Psychologist
LinkedIn Id: https://www.linkedin.com/in/denny-prasad-b55028124