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Elderly And Their Addiction

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.


It was found that substance abuse among elderly in the United States is increasing at an unprecedented rate. Drug and alcohol abuse among elderly is, according to the Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services, classified in a couple of general groups: the "late onset" addicts, which is a group that developed the addiction in their older years, and "hardy survivor" which is a term for addicts that have been abusing drug or alcohol for a longer period and have turned 65 in the meantime. Irrespective of what age you are or when your dependence commenced, there are healing alternatives present to assist you assume a healthy life.


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


Factors Of Abuse Among 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.

Substance abuse can be seen as a solution to these situations, which can lead to a comprehensive addiction. Please give us a call on 0800 246 1509 today, if you or someone you know is battling with addiction problems later in life and requires assistance searching for a treatment program.


Possible triggers for drug or alcohol addiction in the elderly are:

  • Retirement
  • The passing of someone they hold dearly.
  • Loss of income or financial stress
  • Relocation or placement in a nursing facility
  • Insomnia
  • Family conflict
  • Health deterioration (depression, memory loss, major surgeries, etc.)

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The Dangers Of Senior Citizen Substance Abuse

Since senior citizens are increasingly prone to the degrading effects of these substances, drug or alcohol abuse among the elderly is specifically harmful.

Some of the most dangerous prescription drugs for seniors are Benzodiazepines which are used to treat pain, anxiety or insomnia. These are openly prescribed and very dependent. Year after year, the rate of elderly benzos dependencies is steadily increasing.


At 65 our body has diminished its ability to break down drugs and alcohol which contributes to increased susceptibility to their effects. That means that even those senior citizens that aren't addicted are exposing themselves to increased risk if they use drugs or alcohol.


Identifying Substance Abuse Among Elderly Can Be Tricky

Alcohol or substance misuse may actually resemble signs of other medical or mental health illnesses, like diabetes, dementia or depression.

That is why "being old" is often a primary diagnosis for most psychological or physical health issues senior citizens receive at the doctor's.


Symptoms Of Dependency In Older People

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.

Some signs of elderly drug abuse to look for include:

  • Memory loss or gap
  • Changes in sleeping habits
  • Unexplained bruises
  • Irritability, sadness, depression
  • Unexplained chronic pain
  • Eating disorder
  • Wanting to be on your own most of the time
  • 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.

Since individuals over 65 particularly are devoid of the social support needed throughout recovery, so you should search for programs that specialize in this kind of addiction and also provide case management services. The continued healthy lifestyle is allowed after the treatment with these case management services that provide the elderly with access to medical, psychiatric, and social resources.


Senior Citizen Abuse Statistics

The high rate at which individuals 65 years and older are forming addictions to several substances is surely cause for concern and something that should not be neglected by healthcare professionals, caretakers or family members.