Alcohol Abuse in Elders

Substance abuse in elders is a rapidly growing problem among older adults. Age-related physiological changes in alcohol metabolism, greater risks of alcohol interaction with prescription medications, and the presence of comorbid medical and psychosocial conditions, such as depression and bereavement, make older persons more susceptible to adverse outcomes related to alcohol consumption. Here are some recent articles from Clinical Geriatrics on identification and management of alcoholism and related problems.

Alcohol Ketoacidosis–Underrecognized Cause of Metabolic Acidosis in the Elderly

Identification and Management of Alcohol Abuse and Withdrawal in Elders.

(This article specifically discusses the term “banana bag.” A “banana bag,” consisting of thiamine, dextrose, folate, and multivitamins, will provide nutritional supplementation for a patient who is unable to receive adequate nutrients by mouth and may help prevent Wernicke’s encephalopathy and the damaging effects of excessive alcohol consumption.)

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