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Recognition and acceptance of the reality of alcohol abuse is imperative for treatment to be successful. If the user has been found to be alcoholic, detoxification will be required. This may be a longer process in the elderly than with younger alcoholics.

A thorough health assessment that includes a psychological exam is also helpful in meeting the needs of seniors. Since some seniors interact with multiple providers of health care services, it is wise to include those provides in determining care needs and follow-up services. Family members may also wish to be included if that is acceptable to the problem drinker.

Self-help groups may be traumatic for some senior citizens, who may find it difficult to be part of an unfamiliar group. A group composed of senior citizens may be more acceptable. Any treatment modality must address the special needs of senior citizens for treatment to be successful.