Alcohol Use and Older Adults

Frequently Asked Questions

15. What are signs of a drinking problem?

It’s not always obvious that someone drinks too much. For older adults, clues to a possible alcohol problem include memory loss, depression, anxiety, poor appetite, unexplained bruises, falls, sleeping problems, and inattention to cleanliness or appearance. Answering "yes" to at least one of the following questions is also a sign of a possible drinking problem:

  • Have you ever felt you should cut down on your drinking?
  • Have people annoyed you by criticizing your drinking?
  • Have you ever felt bad or guilty about your drinking?
  • Have you ever had a drink first thing in the morning to steady your nerves or get rid of a hangover?

If you answered “yes” to any of these questions, talk with your health care provider. Also seek help if you feel you are having drinking-related problems with your health, relationships, or work.