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Recognize and Prevent Illness with Our Health Blog

We pack Family Physicians Group’s health blog with valuable medical tips and research you can immediately use to improve your health. From disease prevention and symptom recognition to important updates about our medical community, you get the latest wellness information that lets you take charge of your health. 

Seniors and Alcoholism

Statistically, the use of alcohol and other drugs decline as people grow older, however a sizable percentage of today’s older adults are drinking more. It is estimated that nine percent of Medicare beneficiaries’ age 65 or older consume more than the recommended amount of alcohol.

Most people wouldn’t consider a senior who has one or two drinks in the comfort of there own home to be an alcoholic, but due to the effects of aging, this daily routine can lead to serious health problems and may require alcohol counseling. Not everyone who drinks regularly has a drinking problem, and not all problem drinkers drink every day. Research studies have uncovered a new phenomenon known as “late-onset alcoholism” There are two types of alcoholism in seniors - early onset and late onset.

What is early-onset alcoholism?

Individuals who have been consuming alcohol for years and have reached the age of 65 are considered early onset alcoholics. Early onset alcoholics typically have more severe alcohol problems and more likely to drop out of treatment.  

What is late-onset alcoholism?

Seniors 65 and older who use alcohol as a way of dealing with the many stresses of growing old are considered late-onset alcoholics. Diagnosing late-onset alcoholism is difficult because many seniors live alone and drinking goes unobserved by family members, friends and physicians.

Symptoms of Alcohol Abuse

  • Tolerance – Increased need to consume more alcohol to get the same buzz or high.
  • Craving – Feeling an intense desire or urge to consume alcohol.
  • Loss of control – When you start drinking your behavior changes and you become more hostile towards yourself and/or others.
  • Coping – Drinking to deal with depression and worries or having an increased amount of depression when you’re not drinking alcohol.
Treatment

There isn’t one treatment plan that works for everyone, but the first step is for you to admit that you may have a problem and seek the help you need to get better. Family Physicians Group offers valuable programs; support and screenings to help you in getting the treatment you need to get sober.

Alcohol misuse screening & counseling - All Medicare beneficiaries who use alcohol regularly should get an annual misuse screening. You do not need to show any signs or symptoms of alcohol abuse to get a screening. If the screening indicates alcohol misuse, Medicare will pay for up to four brief counseling sessions every year.

What does Medicare Cover?

Medicare Part B covers alcohol misuse screening once per year and up to 4 brief face-to-face counseling sessions per year if diagnosed with an alcohol problem.

How much does it cost?

Medicare beneficiaries pay no copay and no deductible for the misuse screening and counseling sessions.

Schedule a free alcohol misuse screening today!

Schedule your appointment today! To learn more about preventive health care, contact a member of the Family Physicians Group team at 1.866.999.3741 with your questions.
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