Alcohol & ageing

Grey hairs, wrinkles and the middle-age spread will come to us all – as will worse hangovers. As part of the ageing process our bodies no longer process alcohol so well. One reason for this is having more body fat, which is less able to breakdown alcohol.

Life changes

For many of us changes in our life are cause for celebration such as retirement or the children leaving home. For some this can lead to a feeling of loss. Life changes can be made even tougher if we experience bereavement or if we become a carer. These are just some of the reasons people may find they drink more than they did before.

Home drinking

It’s now much more common to drink at home rather than the local pub. When people drink at home it’s easy to be much more generous with measures when pouring your drink, making it easy to lose track of how much you’re drinking. Learning more about how much you’re drinking or using a unit measure is a simple way to keep track.

It’s often the case that someone has been drinking too much for years, but as they age older this starts to have a more serious effect on many aspects of their lives.

Underlying issues

Additionally, sometimes alcohol can mask or hide other underlying health issues that you or your doctor might not be aware of. Cutting back can increase your chance of getting the right medical advice and support. Alcohol can also affect your medication.

How can my medication be affected by drinking?

The effects of mixing alcohol and medicines can be unpredictable. If you take medication – prescribed or from the chemist – we recommend that you take a few moments to learn how they might interact with alcohol.

Reading the label

For example, the labels on your medicine bottles and boxes may include warning labels signalling that you should avoid drinking alcohol while taking them.

Mixing your medications with alcohol may stop the medications working as they’re supposed to, and in some cases can be harmful. Take care to read the side-effects listed on your medication. Some of these side-effects could be further complicated when you drink, and risks can increase.

Forgetting to take medication

Additionally, when under the influence of alcohol, you could find yourself forgetting when to take your medicine, how much to take or if you have already taken your dose for today.

To give your medications the best chance of effectiveness, avoid mixing them with alcohol. Always discuss your medication with your GP or pharmacist.

Read more about drinking wisely, and how to get help with changing your drinking habits.