The Elderly And Their Use Of Alcohol And Drugs Essay

Length: 6 pages Sources: 12 Type: Essay Paper: #81416194 Related Topics: Drug Abuse, Baby Boomers, Elderly Population, Alcohol Abuse Published October 20, 2022
Excerpt from Essay :

Why do the Elderly turn to Alcohol and Drugs?


Irrespective of the increasing rates of prescription drug misuse among the elderly, alcohol and drugs remain the mainly used substance among the elderly (Rossow & Tren, 2020). Aging probably leads to physical and social changes that increase vulnerability to substance misuse (Chhatre et al., 2017). Otherwise, because older people have meager metabolic rates, their brains are more sensitive to drugs (Kuerbis, 2020). As a result, they can be more vulnerable to the consequences of alcohol and drug intake. Consequently, several research studies on alcohol and drug treatment among the elderly have focused on Alcohol use disorders (Jayadevappa et al., 2015). Therefore, this research seeks to understand in detail various parameters that contribute to increasing alcohol intake among the elderly to find appropriate remedies to contain the increasing prevalence of alcohol use disorders among the elderly.


Baby Boomers. Refers to generational people born between 1946 and 1964. They were named baby boomers because, according to statistics, many births occurred during this time.

Background Information

Alcohol and drug abuse among the elderly is one of the fastest-growing health challenges in the United States of America (Bachman et al., 2013). The shifting demographic makeup among the elderly population impacts the prevalence of alcohol abuse and the need for various services like treatments (Rossow & Tren, 2020). The number of the elderly in need of treatment for alcohol and drug abuse is estimated to rise (Chhatre et al., 2017). The rise is partly attributed to the aging baby boomer population that is believed to have had more exposure to alcohol, drugs, and tobacco since their adolescent period. According to studies, alcohol and illicit drugs among the elderly have doubled (Blow & Barry, 2012). Around 90 percent of the users have started using them before age 30 (Kuerbis et al., 2014). According to data from the Drug Abuse Warning Network surveillance system, out of the 1.2 million people that visited the emergency department for adverse drug reactions, 61 percent were individuals aged 65 and above.

However, even though the elderly alcohol and drug abuse are increasing, alcohol abuse is usually undertreated and undetected (Rossow & Tren, 2020). This could be due to the failure of elderlies to report the issue following the stigma attached to alcohol and drug abuse (Geels et al., 2013). Typically, the number of comorbidities increases with age; therefore, abuse of alcohol and drug can result in worsening care outcomes and medical consequences (Jayadevappa et al., 2015). According to one research study, when the elderly is compared with younger adults, the ratio of the elderly seeking treatment for abuse of alcohol and drugs for the first time is also on the rise (Kuerbis, 2020). Besides, although multiple studies have categorized the rates of alcohol and drug usage to be lower among the elderly than in the general population, aging presents many risks that even minimal amounts of alcohol and drugs can be hazardous.

Literature Review

In 2011, the baby boomers generation turned 65 years. In the United States total population, baby boomers account for around 35 percent of the population (Jayadevappa et al., 2015). Due to the large population size of the baby boomers as well as their longer life expectancies, United States Census Bureau projected that the elderly population will increase to 72.1 million from 40,3 million by 2030 (Kuerbis et al. 2014). According to historical data, the elderly has not shown high drug and alcohol intake rates compared to younger…in the number of older adults seeking treatment for alcohol and substance use disorders (Jayadevappa et al., 2015). However, there are no existing studies on factors contributing to the rise in alcohol and drug usage among the elderly (Caputo et al., 2012). This study seeks to determine factors contributing continuous rise in the absolute number of the elderly that use alcohol and drugs.

Theoretical Implications

This study will detail the current literature on various factors contributing to increasing alcohol and substance abuse among the elderly (Kuerbis, 2020). This will help appropriate bodies like public health develop appropriate remedies to contain the increasing prevalence of alcohol use disorders among the elderly.

Practical and Cultural Implications of this Study

This study will improve health more, particularly amongst the elderly who increasingly suffer from alcohol and substance disorders (Chhatre et al. 2017). This will be realized through enhanced knowledge of various factors contributing to alcohol and drug intake among the elderly, resulting in increased alcohol and substance use disorders.

Legal or Ethical Consideration

This study will seek the participants consent before conducting the research. Participants will be guaranteed confidentiality of their data and will be made to understand what this study entails and the reasons for conducting it (Kuerbis et al., 2014). Besides, any clinical data obtained from the public health sector will not be accessible to any other party and can only be used for this study and not any other.


Alcohol and drug abuse among the elderly is increasingly becoming a serious issue. Even though the elderly is still considered to be the minor alcohol and drug users in the total population, current data indicate that alcohol abuse amongst this group is on a steady rise (Chhatre et al., 2017). Therefore, appropriate and practical research studies…

Sources Used in Documents:


Bachman, J. G., Wadsworth, K. N., O’Malley, P. M., Johnston, L. D., & Schulenberg, J. E. (2013). Smoking, drinking, and drug use in young adulthood: The impacts of new freedoms and new responsibilities. Psychology Press.

Blow, F. C., & Barry, K. L. (2012). Alcohol and substance misuse in older adults. Current psychiatry reports, 14(4), 310-319.

Caputo, F., Vignoli, T., Leggio, L., Addolorato, G., Zoli, G., & Bernardi, M. (2012). Alcohol use disorders in the elderly: a brief overview from epidemiology to treatment options. Experimental gerontology, 47(6), 411-416.

Cite this Document:

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