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Alcohol and Older Adults 

Alcohol and Older Adults
Chapter:
Alcohol and Older Adults
Author(s):

Anna Terajewicz LaRose

and John Renner

DOI:
10.1093/med/9780199392063.003.0004
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date: 21 November 2019

This chapter reviews the prevalence, health risks, and treatment of alcohol use in older adults. We consider epidemiological data showing that a significant proportion of older adults who use alcohol exhibit harmful drinking behavior. We explore the recommendations for alcohol use and definitions of unhealthy use, the neurobiology of alcohol addiction, cognitive effects of alcohol use, and medical sequelae of chronic alcohol use. We identify biomarkers, effective screening tools, and brief interventions for hazardous and harmful alcohol use in older adults. Possible benefits for light alcohol use, as well as risks and medical complications of alcohol use among older adults, are considered. Finally, we review the medical treatment of intoxication and alcohol-use disorders in this population, with an emphasis on the need for evidence-based research to guide clinical practices in identifying harmful levels of use and developing treatment strategies for older patients with alcohol use disorders.

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