Decreasing the rate of alcoholism in the adult population
Alcohol and drug use among adults is an area of concern given the potential impact of substance use on the overall well-being of this growing population. Data from different sources indicate that alcohol is the most commonly used substance among older adults aged 65 years and above (Satre et al., 2018). In the United States, the adult population is expected to grow to about 88.5 million in 2050 and one can only imagine the impact alcohol consumption will have on these individuals. Alcohol consumption brings negative effects to individuals, families, and communities including increased cost of living, poor health outcomes, social disruptions, and death (Rossow & Traeen, 2020). The focus of this project is to analyze the impact of alcohol among the elderly and ways that can be implemented in communities to decrease the rate of alcoholism among the adult population.
Alcohol is among the highest ranking risk factors for loss of healthy life years and premature death worldwide. Research from Europe indicates that alcohol use among older adults has increased across many countries including Spain, the United States, Norway, and Sweden (Rossow & Traeen, 2020). For instance, the rate of alcohol consumption among the elderly in Portugal in 2016 was 31% with Norwegian adults accounting for 21%. it was observed that drinking mostly occurs in social settings with families, friends, and colleagues making them the starting points of alcohol drinking prevention (Rossow & Traeen, 2020). Apart from this research, the World Health Organization (WHO) report indicates that the harmful use of alcohol contributes to more than 200 diseases and injuries. Worldwide, it is observed that 3 million deaths every year result from the use of alcohol (WHO, 2022). for the adult population aged 20 to 39 years, alcohol consumption leads to approximately 13.5% of the total deaths.
A significant proportion of the disease burden and injuries attributed to alcohol intake arises from unintentional injuries. Drunk individuals are involved in road accidents, violence, and suicide leading to loss of life. In the United States, alcohol intake is known to kill more than 14,000 people each year and this drains the economy in terms of work productivity (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 2022). In 2010, excessive alcohol consumption use accounted for $249 billion with 77% of these costs resulting from binge drinking. Breaking down the statistics, alcohol use cost the states and the District of Columbia (D.C.) a median of $3.5 billion in 2010 (CDC, 2022). Regarding the aspect of costs resulting from alcohol drinking, alcohol consumption led to a 72% loss in work productivity with 11% of the costs spent on law enforcement and other criminal justice.
Alcohol intake among adults can have significant impacts on health and the cost of healthcare. Apart from the affected individuals, alcohol intake leads to frequent emergency visits and hospitalization that burdens nurses and other healthcare providers (Anderson et al., 2017). Billions of dollars are wasted managing hospitalized alcoholic patients instead of improving the quality of care through staffing and other health-related functions. To address the issue of alcohol intake in my practicum setting, nurses and other healthcare providers have been involved in counseling patients and organizing outreaches to ensure individuals understand the impact of alcohol. Another approach used is the screening of adults aged 18 years and older for alcohol use and alcohol intake behaviors (Anderson et al., 2017). Evidence-based screening and brief advice programs are recommended to address the challenge of alcohol among adults.
Anderson, P., O’Donnell, A., & Kaner, E. (2017). Managing alcohol use disorder in primary health care. Current Psychiatry Reports, 19(11), 79.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2022). Alcohol and public health: Excessive drinking is draining the U.S. economy.
Rossow, I., & Træen, B. (2020). Alcohol use among older adults: A comparative study across four European countries. Nordic Studies on Alcohol and Drugs, 37(6), 526-543. https://doi.org/10.1177%2F1455072520954335
Satre, D. D., Bahorik, A. L., & Mackin, R. S. (2018). Alcohol and drug use among older adults: associations with widowhood, relationship quality, and physical health. The Journals of Gerontology: Series B, 73(4), 633-635.
World Health Organization. (2022). Alcohol: Key facts. https://www.who.int/news-room/factsheets/detail/alcohol#:~:text=The%20percentage%20of%20alcohol%2Dattributable,and%207.0%20litres%20for%20females.
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