In addition to being cautious with alcohol, older adults and their caregivers should be aware of other substances that can be misused or abused. Because older adults are commonly prescribed opioids for pain and benzodiazepines for anxiety or trouble sleeping, they may be at risk for misuse and dependence on these substances. One study of adults age 50 and older showed that misuse of prescription opioids or benzodiazepines is associated with thoughts of suicide.
What can you do?
Learn about the current U.S. guidelines for drinking and when to avoid alcohol altogether. It’s important to be aware of how much you are drinking and the harm that drinking can cause. If you or a loved one needs help with substance abuse or alcohol use, talk with your doctor or a mental health professional. You can also try finding a support group for older adults with substance or alcohol abuse issues.
Learn about substance use in older adults and get tips on how to stop drinking alcohol or drink less alcohol.