Update to Invisible Addicts report

The Royal College of Psychiatrists have published an update to their seminal 2011 report, ‘Our Invisible Addicts’, which looks at “the burgeoning problem of substance misuse among older adults”.

The update calls for specialist training for addiction and old age psychiatrists to help them provide age-appropriate support and highlights that this is a problem that often exists “behind closed doors”.                     

Reacting to the update, Julie Breslin who heads up the Addaction-led Drink Wise, Age Well programme, said:

“We welcome this call for training for specialist psychiatrists to help them recognise and respond to the needs of older adults at risk from their drinking. This update of the original report underlines even more that soaring levels of harmful drinking in the over 50s needs an urgent response, and Drink Wise, Age Well is pioneering some of the solutions. This includes providing training on age-appropriate support - not just for psychiatrists, but for all relevant health professionals, addiction practitioners and frontline staff who can play a huge part in tackling this issue.

“The issue of drinking behind closed doors is also close to our heart. We’ve found that older adults are sometimes drinking to cope with major life changes such as retirement and bereavement and are facing this battle alone. We all need to work together to reduce the stigma around older drinkers, so they feel they can talk to health professionals, family and friends unashamedly and without fear of judgement. Our new film, ‘Vintage Street’ looks at this in depth and points people to the help that is out there, either locally or online.” 

You can read the full report here

And watch the Vintage Street film here

Drink Wise, Age Well delivers face-to-face training in the five “demonstration” areas where it operates – Glasgow, Sheffield, Devon, Cwm Taf University Health Board area and the Western Health & Social Care Trust area in Northern Ireland. They also provide an online training module, which you can find on the Drink Wise, Age Well website.