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Signs of Alcohol Abuse in Older Adults

close up of one person clasping the forearm of an older adult as they see signs of alcohol abuse in older adults

Having robust coping mechanisms is a necessity in life. Coping mechanisms are tools and strategies called upon during moments of struggle and stress to help ease feelings of discomfort and anxiety. Some find comfort in their hobbies, while others turn to physical activities or social events. Robust coping mechanisms can provide a shield of armor, helping someone overcome all the obstacles life throws. But sometimes, even with the most tried and true coping strategies, these mechanisms can fall short, opening up the floodgates to feelings of dread and dismay. 

In moments like these, it is not uncommon for individuals to turn to drugs and alcohol. Alcohol, in particular, due to its widespread availability, may seem like a common way to deal with stress. Still, if not appropriately monitored, casual use can quickly transition into chronic abuse. When searching for alcohol addiction treatment in Asheville, be sure to consider Insight Recovery in North Carolina.

What Is Alcohol Abuse? 

Alcohol abuse can take many forms and is highly dependent on individual actions and behaviors. This is highlighted by the fact that, although everyone who has an alcohol addiction abuses alcohol, not everyone who abuses alcohol is addicted to alcohol. While alcohol abuse is undoubtedly a precursor to alcohol addiction, an individual can abuse alcohol without experiencing the same cravings and withdrawal symptoms associated with addiction. Alcohol addiction is the consistent compulsion to drink despite physical or health-related consequences. 

Signs of a Drinking Problem

Many signs may indicate someone is suffering from a drinking problem. Unfortunately, no one sign, in particular, can give a definite answer. Instead, when a series of signs and symptoms work in tandem, that is a good clue that alcohol abuse is present. One must also consider the behavior surrounding these signs, as indications of alcoholism can be attributed to other issues, such as depression or anxiety. One unmistakable sign is a change in social behavior. Those suffering from a drinking problem are likely to behave more erratically in situations with and without alcohol. In situations with alcohol, those with a drinking problem are likely to drink excessively or drink faster than those around them. Drinking in inappropriate situations or at inappropriate times, such as at work or while driving, is another sure sign of a drinking problem. A drinking problem may be indicated when someone’s drinking prevents them from meeting work or social obligations.

Signs of Alcohol Abuse In Older Adults

Alcohol abuse can look very similar in young and older adults, with one significant difference. The older someone is, the more likely their drinking may impact their health and worsen pre-existing conditions. Older adults are more susceptible to injury, disease, and mental illness. When these issues are already present, users risk developing additional symptoms and hastening the progress of a disease or mental illness. Memory is one such factor that may start to go if an older adult’s drinking gets out of hand. Other signs of alcohol abuse in other adults are:

  • Drinking to cope with emotional issues
  • Drinking to fall asleep
  • Drinking more quickly than those around them
  • Incurring injuries or significant consequences as a result of drinking
  • Frequently intoxicated
  • Increased alcohol tolerance
  • Social isolation
  • Agitation, when separated from alcohol
  • Changes in self-care

As one might imagine, there is an endless number of conditions, life events, and illnesses that may cause these symptoms. But when these signs and symptoms work together in a particular way, alcohol abuse becomes more than a little apparent. 

Finding Help for Alcohol Abuse at Insight Recovery

At Insight Recovery in Asheville, NC we believe anyone can overcome addiction, regardless of age or drug of choice, with proper support and guidance. We pride ourselves on our curriculum, alumni program, and community involvement and view all three as critical components of leading a happy, addiction-free life. For more information on signs of alcohol abuse in older adults, reach out to schedule your appointment today at 828.826.1376.