Seniors and Drug and Alcohol Use

By: Jan Edward Williams

Seniors and Drug and Alcohol Use

Here are some factors for seniors, persons 60 and older (though some changes occur younger) to keep in mind about alcohol use and about drug use, including drugs prescribed by physicians:

? As an individual ages, the body becomes less efficient in metabolizing alcohol and other
Drugs; this can result in a more powerful effect of drugs and alcohol than used to be the
case when younger.

? As a person ages, the body has less muscle mass and less fluid to dilute alcohol; so, the
person can become impaired on amounts of alcohol that he/she used to drink with only a
slight impairment.

? Seniors tend to be using a number of drugs prescribed by their doctors for medical
conditions such as high blood pressure, difficulty sleeping, pain due to arthritis or other
problems. These drugs may have sedative effects similar to the effects of alcohol and when
used with alcohol can make the sedative effects much more powerful and impairing.

? Seniors may also be taking drugs they can buy in stores over-the-counter, without a
prescription, for problems such as coughs and colds, trouble sleeping, for headaches and
other aches and pains. These medications can also have sedative effect and, again, cause
too much sedation if the person is also taking other drugs and alcohol.

Because of these factors, seniors can experience symptoms such as impairment, confusion, disorientation, memory loss, unhappiness, unsteadiness of gait, falls, and other problems that can be mistaken for other serious conditions such as Alzheimer's disease or depression. It is important for seniors to bring to their physician a list of all medications they use, including over-the-counter medications, (maybe just bring all the medications to the doctor to look at), so that the doctor can figure out if these drugs are causing any of the problems mentioned above.

If you have concerns about these issues, go to this website for more information and same day answers to questions: http://www.alcoholdrugsos.com

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