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Drug And Alcohol Addiction In The Elderly

Substance Abuse Among Elderly

Although it's not unpopular for an addiction later in life, the health effects of substance abuse for those over the age of 65 can be even more dangerous than in younger users.


A fast progressing health issue in the United States is drug and alcohol abuse among the elderly. Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services says that substance use among senior citizens can be classified into two typical forms: the "late onset" group, which is those who form addictions later in life and the "hardy survivor", or those who have been abusing substances for many years and have reached 65. Help and treatment can be taken advantage by elderly addicts in spite of their age.


Undercalculation and under diagnosis of addiction among people 65 and up can limit them from receiving the support they require.


Causes Of Addiction In Senior Citizens

Drug abuse occurring late in life can be attributed to few probable causes. These could be life-changing events or health-related issues that take an emotional toll.

Drug-abusing behaviour may be provoked by these events that can result in a full-scale addiction. Whether you or a person you know is fighting with dependence problems later in life and require detecting a healing plan, contact us on 0800 246 1509.


Here are some of the probable reasons why elderly are resorting to substance abuse:

  • Retirement
  • The passing of someone they hold dearly.
  • Financial strains or loss of income
  • Relocation to a nursing home
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Family conflict
  • Mental or physical health decline (depression, amnesia, life-threatening operations, etc.)

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Risks From Addiction Among Older People

Older persons are at greater risk of experiencing hazardous effects of drugs and alcohol, which means that substance abuse is a lot more dangerous for them.

Some of the most dangerous prescription drugs for seniors are Benzodiazepines which are used to treat pain, anxiety or insomnia. Despite its addicting potency, it is commonly prescribed by doctors to older people. The number of elderly people addicted to benzos have gone up each year.


People above the age of 65 have a diminished capability to metabolize substances or alcohol together with a heightened brain sensitivity to them. That means that even those senior citizens that aren't addicted are exposing themselves to increased risk if they use drugs or alcohol.


Challenges In Identifying Addiction Of Senior Citizens

Some of the psychological or physical health issues, like dementia, depression or diabetes might actually have similar side effects to substance abuse.

Thus it gets easier for doctors who experience an older patient to chalk up declining mental or physical health simply to "old age".


Symptoms Of Dependency In Older People

This may not always be true but together with mental and physical health, relationships of older persons also decline. It's important to pay attention to any unusual signs your elderly loved one displays, although addiction can be difficult to recognize in this demographic.

Drug usage in the elderly can sow itself in signs including:

  • Memory troubles
  • Erratic sleeping habits
  • Bruising without known reason
  • Depression, irritability, sadness,
  • Unexplained chronic pain
  • Eating disorder
  • Prefers to be alone often
  • Undesirable hygiene
  • Losing communication with loved ones
  • Non-participative in events or activities

It is crucial to search out a treatment centre that has particular experience working with seniors struggling with addiction, once an addiction is recognized.

You should identify plans that particularize in this form of dependence and as well provide case management services, as people above 65 usually lack the social help highly needed during recuperating. Approach to medical, psychiatric and social resources to permit for a healthy lifestyle to continue after treatment is offered to the seniors by these case management services.


Senior Citizen Misuse Statistics

The reason for concern and something that should not be ignored by medical professionals, caretakers or family members, is the alarming rate at which individuals 65 years and older are developing addictions to various substances.