Alcohol and Aging Kathleen King, ACSW AdvanceMed Hanford
Older vs. Younger • Older = less body water = less dilution and increase in intoxication. • Women = even less water, and the enzyme that breaks down alcohol is less active.
Fountain of Youth • If you want to stay young, don’t abuse alcohol. • Alcoholism causes premature aging of the brain. • Frontal lobe brain tissue loss. • Motor function • Problem solving • Memory • Language
Medication and Alcohol • 1+1 = 4 Alcohol potentiates the effect of pain killers, anxiety medication (Xanax), sleep medications.
Effects of Alcohol • Auto accidents. • Cancer. • Masks heart attack symptoms. • If diabetic, alcohol affects blood sugar. • Conflicts with family. • Poor performance at work.
Get Help If You … • Drink to calm nerves, forget worries, get to sleep, deal with loneliness. • Skip a meal after a few drinks. • Gulp down drinks. • Frequently have more than 3 in 1 day. • Were drunk more than 3 times in last year. • Lie about or hide drinking. • Drink alone. or, if your doctor has been worried.
How Much Is Too Much? • SAMHSA • Heavy use is 5 drinks 5x a month. • A binge is 5 drinks once a month.
Low Risk Drinking • No more than 2 per day. • Do not drink at least 2 days of the week. • Risky drinking is … • More than 7 per week for women. • More than 14 per week for men. Dr. Tom Babor, U. of Connecticut
Benefits? • Some studies suggest moderate drinking may offer some protection from heart disease. • National Institute on Alcohol Abuse: • Points out this research is limited. • Recommends people over 65 consume no more than 1 drink per day.
Help Is Available • Call Kathleen King at AMH: 376-4418. • Talk to your doctor. • Call any treatment center (alcoholism in yellow pages).