We describe 216 elderly patients (65 years of age or older) who were treated for alcoholism in an inpatient treatment program. Emphasis is placed on the demographics, medical characteristics, results of laboratory tests, outcome of treatment, and various comparisons of early- and late-onset alcoholism. The frequency of serious medical disorders among these patients was higher than would be expected for the overall population of a similar age. Elderly alcoholics have more abnormal results of commonly used laboratory tests than do younger alcoholics. Our data show that the elderly alcoholic can be successfully treated in a medically oriented inpatient treatment program. The concept of less-intensive treatment for the elderly alcoholic is generally not supported. More-intensive treatment may be necessary for some of these patients because of the high frequency of accompanying major medical and psychiatric problems. Early-onset alcoholism predominated, but we found no major differences between the two groups.
ASJC Scopus subject areas