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Drug And Alcohol Dependence In The Elderly

Senior Citizens And Substance 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. Substance abuse among senior citizens can be classified into two general forms: the "hardy survivor," or those who have been abusing substances for many years and have reached 65, and the "late onset" group, which is those whose addictions take place later in life, according to the Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services. 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.


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

There are various factors that could lead to a person begin embracing drug misuse later in life. Some of them may have dealt with desperate situations or are suffering hopelessness due to sickness.

These situations may arouse substance ill-using trait that can lead to an all-out dependence. 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.


Possible inducers of substance or alcohol dependence in the older individuals are:

  • Retirement
  • The passing of someone they hold dearly.
  • Financial Issues
  • Relocation or transferring to a nursing home
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Family conflict
  • Physical or psychological health issues (depression, amnesia, life-threatening operations, etc.)

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The Risks Of Senior Citizens Drug Misuse

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

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. Year after year, the rate of elderly benzos dependencies is steadily increasing.


Senior citizens have a decreased ability to metabolize drugs or alcohol along with an increased brain sensitivity to them. Even when the person is not addicted, it becomes harmful for seniors to use drugs or alcohol totally.


Distinguishing Addiction In The Elderly

Drug or Alcohol abuse may actually imitate symptoms of other mental or medical health disorders, such as dementia, diabetes or depression.

There are cases where doctors attribute the deteriorating mental and physical condition to old age.


Symptoms Of Dependency In Senior Citizens

The mental health, physical health and personal relationships of people may start to deteriorate as they get older. Even though addiction can be hard to identify in this demographic, it's essential to give attention to any unusual signs your elderly loved one exhibits.

Some signs of elderly drug abuse to look for include:

  • Memory loss or gap
  • Alteration in sleeping habits
  • Unexplained bruises
  • Depression, irritability, sadness,
  • Unexplained chronic pain
  • Changes in eating habits
  • Prefers to be alone often
  • Undesirable hygiene
  • Losing communication with loved ones
  • Losing interest in usual 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. Getting them access to case management services will also enable them to enjoy other resources necessary to their recovery be it medical, psychiatric or relational support.


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.