If you’re suffering from alcoholism as a midlife adult, you are not alone. Compared to people in their twenties, people between the ages of 45 and 65 are twice as likely to experience alcoholism as a midlife adult. A recent study found that frequent alcohol consumption becomes more common during middle-aged years, especially among men.
Causes of Alcoholism as a Midlife Adult
Perhaps you’ve been a responsible drinker of alcohol over the years, but now you find that, in your forties, fifties or sixties, you’ve been drinking on a daily basis. There are a number of reasons that might explain this change in drinking habits.
Sometimes, major life changes can be the cause of excessive drinking later on in life. You may be going through or have been through a nasty divorce, the death of a spouse, retirement from a career or a major change in your health status. A loss of income, mobility or friends can also contribute to an increase in alcohol consumption.
Whatever may have led you to alcoholism as a midlife adult, the problems must be faced head-on before excessive drinking does too much damage. As you age, your lean muscle decreases and your body fat increases, resulting in greater blood alcohol levels and a lowered blood-water content. Your aging liver processes alcohol less efficiently than it did in your youth, making it harder to metabolize just one unit of alcohol.
How Alcoholism Affects the Middle-Aged Body
Over two million people in the United States suffer from liver disease, a leading cause of death, which is linked to alcohol abuse.
Stroke is more prevalent among middle-aged adults, and heavy drinking is a major risk factor for stroke in this age group. Drinking is also a risk factor for certain types of cancer, such as mouth, throat, liver, breast and colorectal forms of the disease. Heart disease and neurological issues can also be traced back to alcohol misuse.
If you are taking prescription medications, as many people over the age of 40 or 50 do, drinking can have a negative consequence on your health. The alcohol may interfere with your medicine’s effectiveness and increase the risk of drug interactions, which can be toxic.
Overcoming Alcoholism as a Midlife Adult
Reduce the risks associated with alcohol use in your middle-aged years by getting sober. If you think you are too old to participate in addiction treatment, understand this fact: older people addicted to alcohol fare better in treatment than younger people do. Once you have entered addiction recovery, the odds are in your favor for beating alcoholism, with a lessened likelihood for relapse.
If you are concerned for a parent or someone you know who is over the age of 40 and appears to be suffering from alcohol addiction, speak to them about what you’ve observed and recommended treatment. If you cannot make headway with a close relative, speak with their physician about ways in which they can be helped.
The staff at Silver Ridge understands how alcoholism can affect the daily lives of midlife adults. We provide a sanctuary and the compassion necessary for you or your loved one to heal in safety and comfort.