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Drug And Alcohol Addiction In The Elderly

Senior Citizens And Substance Addiction

It's not new to grow dependence at a late stage in life, but the health consequences of drug ill-use for individuals above the age of 65 can be even more severe than in younger abusers.


A rapidly growing health problem in the United States is Drug and Alcohol abuse among the elderly. 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). There are treatment choices available to help you get back on a healthy track, it doesn't matter what your age is or when addiction began.


Cases among elderly are commonly overlooked thereby preventing them the opportunity for help or treatment.


Factors Of Abuse Among Senior Citizens

There are many causes for developing a substance addiction even as a senior citizen. Anything that has a strong emotional impact on a person, like health problems or some life-changing situations can contribute to this.

These are few of the things that are causing older folks to turn to substance abuse. Please call us now on 0800 246 1509 if you or someone you know is struggling with addiction issues later in life and need help finding a treatment program.


Some of the reasons that provoke senior citizens to begin substance abuse are:

  • Retirement
  • Death of spouse, a family member, pet or close friend.
  • Loss of income or financial stress
  • Relocation or transferring to a nursing home
  • Insomnia
  • Family fights
  • Physical or psychological health issues (depression, amnesia, life-threatening operations, etc.)

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The Risk Of Elderly Substance Abuse

Senior citizens are more susceptible to the deteriorating effects of drug and alcohol, therefore, these substances are particularly dangerous among the elderly.

Benzodiazepines, which are applied to heal anxiety, pain or sleep disorder, are a few of the most risky prescription drugs for the elderly. These are generously prescribed and highly addictive. Benzodiazepine addiction of elderly is found to have grown 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. Even when the person is not addicted, it becomes harmful for seniors to use drugs or alcohol totally.


Difficulties In Distinguishing Dependence In Senior Citizens

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

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

As individuals become aged, their mental wellbeing, physical wellbeing and private ties may begin to drop. It is very significant to look for some extraordinary signs a senior citizen you care about shows, especially because it can be hard to spot an addiction in the older population.

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

  • Amnesia
  • Alteration in sleeping habits
  • Unexplained bruises
  • Irritability, sadness, depression
  • Unexplained chronic pain
  • Eating pattern changes
  • Want to be left alone
  • Failing to keep personal hygiene
  • Losing ties with loved ones
  • Lack of interest in regular 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.

People over 65 usually don't have enough support that is needed after treatment, so you need to find a specific program that provides case management services in addition to having experience in dealing with elderly addiction. These case management services will offer the ageing with reach to medical, psychiatric and social resources to grant for a very healthy wellbeing to progress after healing.


Senior Citizen Addiction 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.