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Substance Use and Older Adults

| December 27, 2017


The physical changes associated with aging can change the way that the body processes alcohol. This means that the drinking habits developed earlier in life may have to change as we get older. If the use of alcohol leads to obvious health consequences, continued use could be considered alcohol abuse. Some of the consequences of alcohol abuse include:

  • Increased risk of hypertension
  • Increased risk of stroke
  • Increased risk of liver diseases
  • Decreased bone density
  • Increased risk of falls
  • Immune system impairment
  • Depression and anxiety
  • Impairment in IADLs
  • Malnutrition

Prescription Medications

Often older adults take multiple medications to manage chronic health conditions such as hypertension, high cholesterol, or diabetes. The use of alcohol can have adverse interactions with prescription medications, resulting in:

  • Increased risk of stomach bleeding
  • Increased risk for stroke
  • Increased risk of depression
  • Increased risk of liver damage
  • High blood pressure
  • Memory loss
  • Excessive drowsiness with resulting Motor Vehicle Accidents or injurious falls

Category: Older Adults

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