Advanced Pathophysiology for the Advanced Practice Nurse
Dr. Sue Butz and Dr. John Chovan
Alcohol Use Disorder, Elderly Population
Medicine and Health Sciences | Nursing
There is a substantial and growing population of elderly adults (65years and older) who misuse alcohol, and psychoactive prescription drugs. Evidence suggests that alcohol dependence and alcohol abuse which is now collectively known as alcohol use disorder (AUD) is common among 65years and older due to socioeconomic circumstances of aging. These socioeconomic circumstances include empty nest syndrome (when children grow up and move away), loss of friendships due to moves, health complications or death, deteriorating health conditions, traumatic events like a spouse’s illness or death, sadness after downsizing a home, and boredom from retirement or lack of socialization. ETOH is addictive and a difficult habit to forgo partly because it induces general depression of the central nervous system as well as activates the dopamine reward circuit. The pathophysiological mechanisms of these actions include interaction with receptors for gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) – the principal inhibitory neurotransmitter in the CNS, receptors for glutamate – a major excitatory neurotransmitter in the CNS, 5-HT subset of receptors that mediate the release of dopamine. ETOH is metabolized in the liver via alcohol and aldehyde dehydrogenase respectively. ETOH metabolites contributes to histones and DNA modification thereby contributing to epigenetic expression of genes that are involved in physiologic regulation of lipids, proteins, and carbohydrates. Pathophysiological insults of ETOH also explains the phenomenon of ETOH induced liver diseases as well as Wernicke’s encephalopathy and Korsakoff’s psychosis
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Oguogho, Anthony, "Alcohol Use Disorder (AUD) in the Elderly Population" (2021). Nursing Student Class Projects (Formerly MSN). 489.