Alcohol Effects on the Elderly
Naturally, old age renders the individuals weak as a result of years of activity. Therefore, the occurrences of slow activity are consistent with maintaining a proper balance that is not detrimental to the elder’s age. However, there are other factors that may hasten old age and also affect the issues that are associated with it. These factors have proven to have other effects to the cognitive abilities of the elderly. As such, at high rates, the factors influence the persistence of various illnesses hence endangering the lives of the old people. This has in turn resulted in unmoderated alcohol consumption among the youth. There have been several studies that have touched on the negative consequences of alcohol abuse especially among the youth.
These consequences have touched on their social lives and even personal health. Therefore, any have been sent to rehabilitation centers to have their addictions countered and help them to lead normal lives. The youth are a common population for study with regard to alcohol abuse. Hence, many have ended up defiled and taken advantage of resulting from the effects of alcohol on their mental state. This mental state has been explained biologically to be a consequence of low blood flow to the brain as well as low concentration of water in the blood stream. It is for this reason that it is advised that while consuming alcohol, individuals must also hydrate with water to curb the effects of alcohol. Among the elderly, the outcome is equally the same.
A high concentration of alcohol in the blood stream typically renders the elderly to mentally unaware and therefore behave in a similar manner as the youth. As is the case of alcohol, the blood sugars tend to rise thus rendering the individual to be hyperactive. Therefore, sleep is interrupted and derailed leading to insomnia until when the blood sugars go down to normal levels and the effects of the activities kick in leading to fatigue. The associated breathing difficulties are often as a consequence of alcohol on the aging process. With the heightened activities, the vital organs as the heart and lungs are forced to work harder which is difficult given the aging process thus causing difficulties for the individual. The effects of alcohol on the cognitive abilities of the elderly has been assumed to be of negative traits by many scholars.
The observed effects only indicate common results as expected from other age groups that consume alcohol. Bobo et al. (2010) in their research focused on observing the trajectories of alcohol usage on women between the ages of 55 and 65 years. The research used two cohorts of women from the United States and the trajectories were duly evaluated. Primarily, the research was aimed at understanding how alcohol use affected the elderly women only. Therefore, the geriatric approach in this case reveals that the study population being aware of the demerits of alcohol consumption, worked towards ensuring that it did not apply to their health. The risk of alcohol effects has over the years been observed and scholars have equally looked into the risks associated with both men and women.
Fornozar et al. (2013) in their study observed alcohol consumption among the elderly and how the consumption patterns changed over a period of two years. The study was longitudinal using the AUDIT-C. This is as brought out by Immonen, Valvanne and Pitkal, (2013) in their study that focused on prevalence of potential alcohol-drug interactions in older adults where the study population involved 2100 elderly in care homes in Espoo, Finland. Thus, with the influence of other factors, the mental health of the elderly who consume alcohol is jeopardized. The diagnosis of alcoholism among the elderly is often subjected to a number of challenges due to the associated biological, physiologic and psychosocial factors that also contribute to old age. The common belief is that elderly people are incapable of being substance abusers.
However, the contrary proves true as several of the elderly persons engage in alcohol consumption for a number of reasons. (2018) are inclusive of bereavement, social isolation, and illness. Bereavement stirs up a mixture of emotions and in the case of the elderly, it may signify loneliness or the potentiality of death catching up with them. Therefore, to eliminate the emotions, some take into alcohol consumption. This is similar to cases of social isolation. The elderly who have been abandoned may resort to alcoholism so as to do away with the thoughts of being a societal reject. The core of the study focused on the association between the study population’s health issues, drinking problems and alcohol consumption. The study indicated that the elderly used alcohol as a pain reliever for cases such as back pains.
Heavy drinking among the population was perceived to be no more than two drinks on a daily basis and not more than seven in a week. The ten-year follow up revealed that about 20% of the population still used alcohol to manage pain. Hence, the use of alcohol in this case had the effect of relieving the elderly from the pain they suffered from. However, heavy consumption was detrimental to the risk of dementia among the elderly. The connection thus drawn revealed that, heavy alcohol consumption facilitated the high risk of dementia and thus posed negative impacts on the cognitive abilities of the elderly population. The high risk of dementia resulting from alcohol consumption is further supported by the fact that heavy alcohol consumption results in faster cognitive decline.
Cognitive abilities of individuals have been observed to decline with old age. The effects of old age on the cognitive abilities of the elderly has been found to cause a significant decline. Alcoholism and abuse is not just a problem that affects the youth. Assuming that the elderly are too old to engage in substance abuse would be neglecting the situation and allowing for its development. References Ana B. et al. Alcohol consumption and health among elders. & Gordis, E. Alcohol and the elderly. Clinical Geriatric Med. Fornozar, R. et al. et al. Alcohol and older people: A systematic review of barriers, facilitators and context of drinking in older people and implications for intervention design. PLoS ONE, 13(1): e0191189. Lal, R. & Raman, D.
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