• Alcohol & Drug Abuse

    Alcohol abuse or misuse in older adults can cause physical, mental and emotional problems, contributing to stroke, heart disease, depression, social isolation, stomach/intestine problems, fall risks and cirrhosis of the liver.

    Alcohol Use Screening

    The Short Michigan Alcoholism Screening Instrument – Geriatric Version (SMAST-G) identifies older adults with alcohol problems. Scores of two or more “yes” answers indicate an alcohol problem and the need for help.

    1. When talking with others, do you ever underestimate how much you drink?
    2. After a few drinks, have you sometimes not eaten or been able to skip a meal because you didn’t feel hungry?
    3. Does having a few drinks help decrease your shakiness or tremors?
    4. Does alcohol sometimes make it hard for you to remember parts of the day or night?
    5. Do you usually take a drink to relax or calm your nerves?
    6. Do you drink to take your mind off your problems?
    7. Have you ever increased your drinking after experiencing a loss in your life?
    8. Has a doctor or nurse ever said they were worried about your drinking?
    9. Have you ever made rules to manage your drinking?
    10. When you feel lonely, does having a drink help?

  • Drug Abuse

    Older adults can have problems with drugs. They may use illegal drugs, misuse prescription or over-the-counter medicines or mix alcohol and medicines. This can cause health problems and other concerns. It is also important to properly throwaway any unused medications.

    Misuse of Medicine

    You misuse or abuse medicine when:
    • You take too much medicine or take medicine when you don’t need to.
    • You use older medicines or another person’s medicine.
    • You take medicine to feel good or “high.” This happens most often with medicines used to treat conditions such as depression, anxiety or pain you have had for a long time.
    • You take medicines while drinking alcohol.
    • You don’t get a prescription renewed.
    • You don’t take medicine as your doctor directs, such as not taking enough medicine or skipping doses.

    Warning signs of substance abuse:
    • You fall a lot.
    • You are not able to make it to the bathroom in time.
    • You are having more headaches and dizziness than usual.
    • You are not keeping yourself clean.
    • You have changed what and how you eat. You may not eat as much, for example.
    • You begin to ignore and lose touch with your family and friends.
    • You begin to think about suicide.
    • You begin to have legal or money problems.

    (Source: Healthwise)


Alcohol & Drug Abuse Links:
Drug Abuse Links:

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