Alcohol and Older Adults
Many older adults enjoy a glass of wine with dinner or a beer while watching the game on TV. Having a drink now and then is fine. But don’t overdo it. As an older adult, alcohol may affect you differently than it does younger adults.
ALCOHOL AND AGING
As you age, you become more sensitive to alcohol’s effects. After age 65, your lean body mass and water content drop. Plus, your metabolism slows down. Alcohol stays in your system longer. As a result, the amount of alcohol in your blood is higher than it would have been when you were younger.
Older adults also are more likely to have hearing and eyesight problems. They have slower reaction times, too. This puts them at higher risk for falls, broken bones, and car crashes tied to drinking.
Some health problems in people older than age 65, and the medicines used to treat them, can worsen with alcohol’s effects. These include diabetes, high blood pressure, and ulcers.
Heavy alcohol use can also lead to other health problems, such as cancer and liver disease.
It’s also linked to depression and suicide.
Medicines taken by older adults are more likely to have serious interactions with alcohol and other medicines. These include many prescribed and over-the-counter medicines and herbal products. Medicines and alcohol can interact even if they’re not taken at the same time. That’s because the medicine may still be in your blood when you have a drink.
HOW TO CUT DOWN
If you want to limit your drinking or your healthcare provider suggests it, try these steps:
1. Write down your reasons for cutting back. These might include wanting to improve your health or to sleep better. Other reasons may be to improve relationships and to stay independent.
2. Track your drinking habits for at least 1 week. Write down when and how much you drink every day. 3. Set a drinking goal. You may decide to cut down to 1 drink a day. Or not to drink at all. Write your goal on a piece of paper and put it where you will see it every day.
Dr. Sagnik Mukherjee is a highly regarded psychiatrist in Kolkata, bringing over a decade of experience in mental health to his practice. With a medical degree from Chittaranjan Hospital and an MD in psychiatry, his expertise spans adult psychiatry, geriatric psychiatry, child psychiatry, depression, anxiety-related disorders, and relationship issues. He has built a strong professional foundation, having worked at esteemed institutions such as Chittaranjan Hospital, SVS Medical College & Hospital, KPC Medical College, and Iris Hospital. His clinic is known for its advanced technology and state-of-the-art infrastructure, providing personalised mental health care, including medication management, individual and group therapy, and specialised services for substance abuse and eating disorders. His holistic approach takes into account lifestyle, diet, environment, and family dynamics when creating effective treatment plans. Additionally, he’s a respected TV speaker on social issues and offers online consultations for patient convenience, making him a trusted figure in the field of psychiatry in Kolkata.