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Drug And Alcohol Addiction of Senior Citizens

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.


Substance and alcohol misuse amidst the senior is a quickly developing health issue within the United States. According to the Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services, drug misuse within older citizens can be grouped into two general types: the "hardy survivor," or those who have been misusing drugs for several years and have attained 65, and the "late onset" squad, which is those who develop dependence at a later stage in life. 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.


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


Factors Of Addiction In The Elderly

There are several things involved in contributing to someone turning to substance abuse later in life. These could turn out to be health-related concerns or life-changing situations that assume an emotional toll.

Drug-abusing behaviour may be provoked by these events that can result in a full-scale addiction. 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.


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

  • Retirement
  • The passing of someone they hold dearly.
  • Financial strains or loss of income
  • Relocation or placement in a nursing facility
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Family conflict
  • Health deterioration (depression, memory loss, major surgeries, etc.)

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The Risks Of Senior Citizens Drug Misuse

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 dangerous prescription drugs for seniors are Benzodiazepines which are used to treat pain, anxiety or insomnia. They are extremely addictive and easily prescribed. Benzodiazepine addiction of elderly is found to have grown 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.


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.

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


Symptoms Of Dependency In Senior Citizens

There is a decline in their mental health, physical health and personal relationships as people 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 loss
  • Changes in sleeping practices
  • Undetermined bruises
  • Depression, irritability, sadness,
  • Unidentified chronic pain
  • Eating disorder
  • Prefers to be alone often
  • Undesirable 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.

Individuals over 65 typically lack the social support required throughout recovery therefore, you should look for programs that offer case management services and also specialize in this type of addiction. 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

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.