Alcohol Use – Clinical Guidelines

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For Older Adults & Care Partners

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Canadian Guidelines on Alcohol Use Disorder Among Older Adults

CCSMH developed a best-practice clinical guidelines* on alcohol use disorder among older adults to support health care professionals provide their patients and clients with evidence-based information and best practices.

*Note: In 2023, The Canadian Centre on Substance Use and Addiction (CCSA) published updated low-risk drinking guidance for Canadians incorporating new evidence on cancer and cardiovascular disease risk. The updated guidance redefines the category of low-risk drinking to be 2 standard drinks or less per week with no more than 1 standard drink per instance. For more information on Canada’s guidance on alcohol and health, please visit the Canadian Centre of Substance Use and Addiction website.

     For older adults, CCSMH recommends reducing alcohol use whenever possible and abstinence considered, especially if there is:

  • A personal or family history of alcohol use disorder
  • An existing chronic medical condition, cognitive impairment, mental illness, or substance use disorder
  • A possibility of harmful interaction with current medication
  • Increased frailty
  • A tendency to drink to cope with life’s challenges

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