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Drug And Alcohol Addiction In The Elderly

Older Citizens And Dependence Abuse

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


It was found that substance abuse among elderly in the United States is increasing at an unprecedented rate. The Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services classifies elderly addicts into hardy survivors (continuous substance abuse starting from younger years) and late onset (those who developed the habit during senior years). Help and treatment can be taken advantage by elderly addicts in spite of their age.


Addiction among people 65 and up is often under-diagnosed and underestimated, which can stop them from getting the help they need.


Causes Of Addiction In Senior Citizens

There are several things involved in contributing to someone turning to substance abuse later in life. Anything that has a strong emotional impact on a person, like health problems or some life-changing situations can contribute to this.

These situations may arouse substance ill-using trait that can lead to an all-out dependence. 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
  • Death of someone close, or a pet.
  • Loss of income or financial stress
  • Moving to another place or to a nursing home
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Family conflict
  • Mental or physical health deterioration (depression, memory loss, major surgeries, etc.)

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Risks From Addiction Among Older People

The human body becomes more vulnerable to the ill effects of drugs as it grows older.

Benzodiazepines are probably the most hazardous prescription substances for elderly, even though they are generally used to treat pain, anxiety and sleeping issues. These are prescribed generously and are more addictive. The number of elderly people addicted to benzos have gone up each year.


At 65 our body has diminished its ability to break down drugs and alcohol which contributes to increased susceptibility to their effects. Even when the person is not addicted, it becomes harmful for seniors to use drugs or alcohol totally.


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.

This makes it very simple for physicians who come across an elderly patient to tally reducing psychological or physical health just to "old age."


Drug Abuse And Its Symptoms Among Elderly

The mental health, physical health and personal relationships of people may start to deteriorate as they get older. 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 problems
  • Erratic sleeping habits
  • Unexplained bruises
  • Depression, anxiety, sadness
  • Unexplained chronic pain
  • Eating pattern changes
  • Desire to be left alone
  • Undesirable personal hygiene
  • Losing contact 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.

It is also important to admit them to facilities that specialise in elderly addiction due to the commonly lacking family or social support at this age. 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 Addiction Statistics

Family, friends, care providers and doctors need to stop ignoring the disturbing rate of addictions to numerous substances among people age 65 and older since it really is a thing to worry about.