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Drug And Alcohol Dependence In The Elderly

Senior Citizens And Substance Abuse

If a person is older than 65 and has a substance addiction, which is not unheard of, the health consequences can be a lot more hazardous than with younger addicts.


Substance and alcohol misuse amidst the senior is a quickly developing health issue within the United States. 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 options available to help you get back on a healthy path, regardless of how old you are or when your addiction started.


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


Causes Of Dependence In The 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.

Substance abuse can be seen as a solution to these situations, which can lead to a comprehensive addiction. Pick up the phone and talk to us on 0800 246 1509 if you or a loved one is battling substance abuse.


Likely precipitants for drug or alcohol addiction in the elderly are:

  • Retirement
  • Death of a close relative, partner, pet or close friend.
  • Financial Issues
  • Resettlement or placement in a nursing home
  • Insomnia
  • Fights in the family
  • Mental or physical health decline (depression, amnesia, life-threatening operations, etc.)

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The Dangers Of Senior Citizen Substance Abuse

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

Some of the most innocuous prescription drugs for the elderly is Benzodiazepines, which are used to treat anxiety, pain or insomnia. They are extremely addictive and easily prescribed. Every year the rate of senior citizens addicted to benzos increases.


At 65 our body has diminished its ability to break down drugs and alcohol which contributes to increased susceptibility to their effects. This makes it very risky for elderly individuals to utilize substances or alcohol at all, despite the person being not addicted.


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."


Signs Of Dependence In Elderly Individuals

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 symptoms of senior citizen drug abuse you should pay attention to are:

  • Memory loss
  • Erratic sleeping habits
  • Undetermined bruises
  • Feeling irritable, sad and depressed
  • Unidentified chronic pain
  • Changes in eating habits
  • Want to be left alone
  • Undesirable personal hygiene
  • Losing contact with loved ones
  • Lack of interest in regular activities

It is imperative to ask professional assistance from experts once substance abuse is confirmed or recognized among elderly.

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.


Elderly Addiction Statistics

The alerting level at which people with 65 years and older are growing dependencies to different drugs is definitely reason for worry and a thing that should not be neglected by medical personnel, caretakers or blood relations.