Detection of alcohol problems among elderly people
More details
Hide details
Psychiatr Pol 2007;41(5):703–713
Although alcohol problems among elderly people are common, doctors hardly ever recognize them. There are numerous symptoms observed among people over 65 years old that may signal alcohol problems, but are incorrectly perceived as typical onsets of the ageing process. One of the reasons doctors avoid talking to their patients about alcohol use is the fact they feel incompetent as to the early detection of alcohol use disorders. Aim. The purpose of the study is to present standardized tests aimed at alcohol use disorders detection among elderly people, interpretation of their results and alcohol interview guidelines. Discussion. The alcohol use disorders among elderly people may have serious health consequences. Polish doctors seem to ignore the issue of alcohol use when interviewing both young people and those over 65 years old. The majority of elderly patients sec their GPs on regular basis, which is a great opportunity to detect the alcohol problem and then to give proper treatment. The most popular standardized tests aimed at alcohol use disorders detection are: S-MAST-G Test, Quantity/Frequency Screen, CHARM Questionnaire, CAGE Test and its modifications. Conclusions. Using the presented tests enables preliminary identification of at-risk drinkers, harmful drinkers and alcohol dependents as well as gives an opportunity to recognize people who need a thorough diagnosis or short intervention method. The usage of the presented tools has medical justification because of the fact that drinking alcohol causes serious health consequences and deteriorates the length and quality of life. It is also economical to apply such methods as the cost of screening is low.