Man thinking about the question, "Do alcoholics get worse with age?"

Do Alcoholics Get Worse with Age?

Alcoholism or alcohol use disorder (AUD) is a chronic disease; like any other chronic illness, it can worsen with age. AUD is also one of the leading causes of premature death. But not everyone with this condition dies at an early age. So that brings up the question: Do alcoholics get worse with age? Does a person with AUD who reaches their seventies or eighties continue to worsen, or is there a point where they plateau? If you are an older adult with alcohol addiction or have a parent or grandparent struggling with AUD, it is essential to know why alcoholism progresses as you age and what you can do to protect your health.

Promises Brazos Valley offers recovery services for all ages and stages. We realize the necessity for customized alcohol addiction treatment to set you up for success. Reach out today at 979.426.0086 to learn more about our AUD treatment programs for older adults.

Do Alcoholics Get Worse with Age?

Alcohol use disorder can worsen as you age. It is a progressive disease, and the older you get, the harder it is to quit. And if you have physical or mental health issues—which become more common as you age—it can be even more difficult for you to quit on your own and manage recovery.

Older adults with alcohol use disorder are more likely to experience:

  • Alcohol-related disability – Missing work or being unable to keep up with household responsibilities
  • Hospitalization due to excessive drinking – Alcohol poisoning or alcohol-induced injuries or accidents
  • Alcohol-related fatality – Fatal accidents or chronic health conditions caused by long-term AUD

While it may be more challenging to quit drinking as you get older, it is not impossible. Instead of attempting to stop drinking on your own, you will benefit more from the support of an alcohol addiction treatment program.

Factors That Affect Whether AUD Worsens in Older Adults

Several factors can play a role in whether or not alcohol addiction gets worse as you age:

Lack of Social Support

Social support is one of the most critical factors that can help you overcome alcohol use disorder and avoid getting worse. This means having people around you who care about your recovery and are willing to help. If your friends or family members do not support your recovery, you are less likely to get help or stick with the treatment program. And over time, your condition may get worse.

Caregiver Responsibilities

Older adults tend to serve as caregivers, whether for children or grandchildren. And some may even need to care for an ailing spouse. This can make you feel stressed and tired, leading to anxiety or depression. Finding ways to delegate some of your responsibilities can help ease your burden and allow you to get the help you need to address alcohol and mental health issues. Ask your loved ones to help give you a break or hire temporary caregiver services.

Work Stress or Retirement 

The further you get in your career, the more responsibilities you may take on at work. This can increase feelings of pressure to perform and maintain your job. And for those approaching retirement, there may be concerns about having enough money to live off the rest of their life. The additional free time that comes with retirement can also lead to boredom or loneliness that triggers the desire to drink if you do not keep yourself busy with hobbies and socializing.

Get Help for Alcohol Addiction at Promises Brazos Valley

You can find the support you need to overcome AUD at Promises Brazos Valley. We help adults of all ages find freedom from alcohol addiction and dependence on illicit or prescription drugs. Contact Promises Brazos Valley today at 979.426.0086 to learn more about your health.

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