Prevalence of substance abuse and socio-economic differences in substance abuse in an Australian community-dwelling elderly sample
Alcohol abuse poses special risks for increased morbidity and mortality among older adults, contributing to the heightened use of medical resources and the related increase in medical costs. Although the prevalance of alcohol use disorders in the older adults is generally less than that found in younger groups, it is expected to increase with the aging of the "baby-boom" generation. In spite of this, little attention has focused on developing, and evaluating the efficacy of, treatment programs for older adults with alcohol related disorders. This article discusses the availability of effective treatment strategies for older alcohol abusers and reviews the epidemiological and outcomes research literatures related to alcohol abuse and older adults. The few empirical studies that examine outcomes associated with the treatment of older substance abusers reveal positive outcomes, especially when "age-specific," cognitive-behavioral, and less confrontational treatment approaches are employed.