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Dauber, Hanna; Pogarell, Oliver; Kraus, Ludwig; Braun, Barbara (2018): Older adults in treatment for alcohol use disorders: service utilisation, patient characteristics and treatment outcomes. In: Substance Abuse Treatment, Prevention, and Policy :13:40


BACKGROUND: In western countries demographic changes are leading to an ageing society. Consequently, the number of older adults with alcohol use disorders (AUDs) will rise and the demand of treatment is likely to increase. However, thus far not many older adults with an AUD are seeking treatment and little is known about the efficacy of treatment for older adults. The present study aimed at determining the proportion of older adults with an AUD in addiction treatment, particular characteristics and treatment outcomes of this clientele. METHODS: Using data of 10,860 patients with an AUD aged 60 and over that are documented within the national German addiction care system we conducted exploratory analyses with regard to prevalence, sociodemographic, disorder- and treatment-related variables. RESULTS: Overall, we found a low proportion of older patients in treatment due to AUDs, but highly positive treatment outcomes. With regard to sociodemographic and disorder-related characteristics, older females and late-onset patients in particular constitute a unique clientele. CONCLUSIONS: The low service utilisation on the one hand but good treatment prognosis on the other emphasise the need to promote treatment seeking among older adults with AUDs. In this context, the special characteristics we found among older patients may contribute to better reach this population and to improve provisions of targeted treatment approaches.