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Treatment of alcohol use disorders in the elderly: an overview of RCTs

  • Rob M Kok (a1)

Extract

In this issue of International Psychogeriatrics, our research group published a paper on alcohol use disorders (AUD) in elderly adults (Kist et al., 2014). According to different authors, age of onset is an important characteristic to distinguish subgroups of patients with AUD, similar to, for example, late-onset depression (LOD) and late-onset schizophrenia (LOS). The cut off age to discriminate between early and late-onset AUD varies but is often 25 years, which is substantially younger than the cutoffs to discriminate LOD or LOS. However, in AUD, many patients started having alcohol problems much later in life, for example, after 45, 50, or even after 60 years. These very late onset patients are almost completely ignored in research. In a group of older inpatients with AUD, we found that those who started drinking heavily after 25 and after 45 years of age have similar cognitive impairments compared with their peers who started drinking before 25 years of age. Our results are counter-intuitive at first instance, but some other authors have found the same results. However, several potential limitations may also account for this result, and replication is needed before conclusions that are more definite can be drawn. In the preparation of this editorial, we found a lack of research in patients who started drinking excessive amounts of alcohol very late in life. This is in contrast with, for example, a fair amount of research in LOD and at least some research in LOS.

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References

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International Psychogeriatrics
  • ISSN: 1041-6102
  • EISSN: 1741-203X
  • URL: /core/journals/international-psychogeriatrics
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