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Alcoholism on the Rise among Elderly in Ohio

Last Updated: February 16, 2023

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Addiction is not particular. It does not discriminate based on gender, race, ethnicity, or age. It will take anyone.

In Ohio, substance abuse, including alcohol abuse, is on the rise among the elderly. It is a good idea to familiarize yourself with the signs of elderly alcohol abuse, as it can sometimes be hard to spot. Why? The difficult thing about recognizing alcohol abuse in older adults is that signs of aging can hide some of the abuse signs.

The Ohio Department of Aging shares some telling warning signs of alcohol abuse to look out for in older adults. If you suspect an alcohol problem with a loved older one, keep an eye out for:

  • Loss of coordination
  • Changes in sleep habits
  • Change of mood
  • Wanting to be alone or isolated
  • Change or lack of interest in usual activities
  • Depression or irritability
  • A decline in appearance

Some of these signs may indicate other medical or mental issues that need attention. However, while any of these symptoms and signs can indicate other issues, alcohol use should not be ruled out without further investigation.

Because many people feel that older adults should be given more leeway, they often ignore excessive drinking. They think it is cute that Grandma drinks too much wine. They joke that Uncle Bob is old and has earned the right to overindulge. However, simply reaching a certain age does not make alcohol abuse okay.

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Aging Issues

Adults may develop multiple issues as they age. Depression can increase. General pain and poor well-being can become more severe. Some older adults turn to alcohol to compensate. They may have real issues that need attention, but alcohol is not the answer.

Older adults have additional problems when it comes to drinking and alcohol abuse. Many medications that they are taking can have negative interactions with alcohol. Use of alcohol can increase the severity of some conditions that otherwise could be manageable.

According to Aging Care, alcohol may be processed differently as we age. As people age, they become more sensitive to alcohol’s effects. In other words, the same amount of alcohol can have a greater effect on an older person than on someone who is younger. Aging Care notes:

“Because the aging process affects how the body handles alcohol, the same amount of alcohol can have a greater effect as a person grows older. Over time, someone whose drinking habits haven’t changed may find she or he has a problem.”

Just as with younger people, alcohol can increase the incidence of accidents like household falls. However, when an older person falls, the effects can be much worse than when a younger person falls. Broken bones and hip fractures are more likely in older adults. These can be permanently debilitating for older ones.

Ohio Alcohol and Drug Rehab

If you think an older adult in your life is abusing alcohol, please help him or her seek treatment. Regardless of anyone’s age, if substance abuse is present, treatment is needed. In Ohio, Recovery Village Columbus offers compassionate help for alcohol abuse or any other substance abuse. With tailored, individualized treatment plans, caring counselors and a comfortable setting, Recovery Village Columbus can provide the necessary treatment.

If you live in Ohio and think your parent or elderly friend may be using alcohol in a dangerous way, contact us. Older adults will benefit from treatment just like anyone else. By living a healthier, cleaner life, they can more fully enjoy their golden years.


Our Recovery Advocates are ready to answer your questions about addiction treatment and help you start your recovery.