It would seem that among the elderly, there are practically no prone to alcoholism.
Those who regularly and many times during their lives laid behind the collar usually do not live to old age. Nevertheless, experts note that the problem of alcohol dependence in the elderly is very common and requires a serious solution.
The Ministry of Health is constantly reporting a decrease in alcohol consumption in our country, while other sources, on the contrary, indicate an increase. Statistics is a crafty thing, in addition, most experts agree that modern youth are really less interested in alcohol. While among middle-aged and older people, the level of consumption and even abuse remains stable.
But the problem of elderly people with alcohol dependence in recent years has become increasingly important. It even got to the point that the chief narcologist of the country, Evgeny Bryun, at a press conference announced his intention to develop a special program for the prevention and treatment of alcoholism and other addictions in older people.
Alas, people over the age of 60+ are not as addicted to alcohol as rarely as it seems at first glance. According to experts, this dependence can be detected in every fourth person in this age category. And in connection with the general tendency towards an aging population and an increase in the proportion of older people, the number of those committed to this addiction is growing. The modern rhythm of life and social problems only exacerbate the situation.
Not so long ago, a new term came into use by narcologists – "Friday alcoholism of the elderly." This is when people aged begin to consume at the end of the week, which goes on weekends.
Of course, such loads significantly undermine the health, which in a person at an advanced age is probably already impaired. And it cannot be guaranteed that this problem will certainly not affect anyone; anyone at the bottom of the glass can begin to calm down. And rich, and poor, and healthy, and sick, and smart, and stupid. And, most interestingly, even someone who before old age had no problems with alcohol at all.
According to the famous doctor, professor of the Department of Psychiatry and Narcology of the First MGMU them. THEM. Sechenov Yuri Sivolap, the problem of alcoholism in old age today is quite acute.
According to his estimates, if in middle age it mostly affects representatives of the strong half of humanity, then in the elderly it is equally relevant for representatives of both sexes. Moreover, at the age of 70-80 years, women begin to drink more often, which is understandable: they live longer than men and at some point remain alone. Petersburg professor Alexei Egorov even coined the term “widowed alcoholism” for this phenomenon.
“He conducted analytics among a group of female patients, most of whom were prosperous university-educated ladies who had never drank at all, but who, having lost a loved one, that is, something very important in their lives, began to get involved in alcohol to cope with psychological problems, ”says Yuri Sivolap.
The risk group for the development of alcoholism at the age of 60+ also includes single women who do not have a family and children, and men who had problems drinking alcohol at a young age. In these cases, craving for alcohol becomes permanent, as a result of which a person needs serious comprehensive treatment. Which is especially unpleasant: over the years, dependence on psychoactive substances, including alcohol, is formed faster.
But nevertheless, experts call lonely old age the main reason for the emergence of addiction in adulthood. And this concept includes a lot: lack of family, friends, work, hobbies.
Alcohol begins to seem to be a means that can fill the resulting void. “Lonely old age and depression in old age are the main reasons for the rather high suicidal risk in people of this age. Alcoholism and suicidal tendencies also often go hand in hand, ”says Yuri Pavlovich.
However, there is a positive point in this problem: it is much easier to treat alcoholism in old age than the addiction that developed in youth or youth. For among age-related patients, this dependence most often takes a benign form with a favorable prognosis. Although you can not discount the fact that in itself a passion for alcohol can affect the course of chronic diseases and undermine health.
“Over the years, a person’s metabolism slows down, which means that alcohol is eliminated more slowly, that is, it poisons the body longer,” the expert continues. – Even its small doses can cause serious harm, especially if a person has diseases of the gastrointestinal tract or metabolic disorders. In such cases, the risk of developing alcoholic psychoses and cognitive impairment, including senile dementia, is increased. ”
Narcologists note, since older people, as a rule, never turn to specialists with complaints about the development of a particular addiction, clinics themselves should take the initiative and try to identify such problems during appointments.
If the doctor persists, it will not be difficult to establish alcohol dependence. In the future, he must transfer such a patient to a narcologist.
Choosing drugs to treat such people also needs to be done very carefully, experts say. Indeed, in old age people most often take several drugs on a regular basis, and their sensitivity to side effects is higher than in their youth. And if an alcoholic takes alcohol along with drugs, this can lead to negative consequences for the body. According to Yuri Sivolap, the safety of the patient should be the basis of treatment. Meanwhile, the chief narcologist Evgeny Bryun proposes to create specialized departments for the treatment of elderly patients with various forms of dependence in drug treatment clinics