mental health services administration, seeking addiction treatment Substance abuse among the elderly (adults over the age of 60), particularly of alcohol and prescription drugs, is one of the fastest-growing health problems in the United States.

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

Alcohol and prescription drug abuse affects up to 17% of adults over the age of 60 per the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA). Due to insufficient knowledge, limited research data, and hurried office visits, health care providers often overlook signs of substance abuse among the elderly. This is made worse by the fact that the elderly often have medical or behavioral disorders that mimic symptoms of substance abuse, such as depression, diabetes, or dementia.

According to the Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services, 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 who form addictions later in life. Regardless of how old you are or when your addiction started, there are treatment options available to help you get back on a healthy path.

Causes Of Addiction In The Elderly

There are several things that could contribute to someone turning to substance abuse later in life. These could be health-related issues or life-changing events that take an emotional toll. These events may provoke substance-abusing behavior that can result in a full-scale addiction.

Potential triggers or causes for drug or alcohol addiction in the elderly include:

  • Retirement
  • Death of a family member, spouse, pet, or close friend
  • Loss of income or financial strain
  • Loss of purpose
  • Relocation or placement in a nursing home
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Family conflict
  • Mental or physical health decline (depression, memory loss, major surgeries, etc.)

The Dangers Of Substance Abuse In The Elderly

Drug or alcohol abuse among the elderly is particularly dangerous because senior citizens are more susceptible to the deteriorating effects of these substances. Individuals over 65 have a decreased ability to metabolize drugs or alcohol along with an increased brain sensitivity to them. This makes it dangerous for seniors to use drugs or alcohol at all, even if the person isn’t addicted.

Benzodiazepines, which are used to treat anxiety, pain, or insomnia, are some of the most dangerous prescription drugs for seniors. These are generously prescribed and highly addictive. The rate of senior citizens addicted to Benzos has increased every year.

Challenges In Identifying Addiction In The Elderly

Alcohol or drug abuse may actually mimic symptoms of other medical or mental health disorders. This makes it easy for doctors who encounter an older patient to chalk up declining mental or physical health to old age.

“Not long ago, a medical colleague referred a 67-year-old woman to me with mild depression, weakness, and complaints of short-term memory loss. Her physician told her there was no clear medical explanation for her symptoms, given that her physical exam, exhaustive lab tests, and brain M.R.I. were all normal… The problem, I soon discovered, was that her alcohol consumption had tripled since the death of her husband a year earlier. She did disclose to her internist that she drank but minimized the amount. She had turned to alcohol, self-medicating her grief, but it only worsened her mood and impaired her memory, typical of alcohol’s effects on the brain.”

– Richard A. Friedman, M.D., NYTimes.com

Symptoms Of Addiction In Senior Citizens

As people get older, their mental health, physical health, and personal relationships may start to deteriorate. Although addiction may be more difficult to recognize in this demographic, it’s important to pay attention to any unusual signs your elderly loved one displays.

Some signs of drug abuse include:

  • Memory problems
  • Changes in sleeping habits
  • Unexplained bruises
  • Irritability, sadness, and depression
  • Unexplained chronic pain
  • Changes in eating habits
  • Wanting to be alone often
  • Failing to bathe or keep clean
  • Losing touch with loved ones
  • Lack of interest in usual activities

Once an addiction is identified, it is critical to seek out a treatment center that has specific experience working with seniors facing addiction.

You should look for programs that specialize in this type of addiction and also offer case management services, as individuals over 65 typically lack the social support required throughout recovery. These case management services will provide the elderly with access to medical, psychiatric, and social resources to allow for a healthy lifestyle to continue after treatment.

Per the American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM) consensus panel, the following are recommended as effective treatment approaches for older adults in substance abuse treatment:

  • Cognitive behavioral approaches
  • Group-based approaches
  • Individual counseling
  • Medical/Psychiatric approaches
  • Marital and family involvement/family therapy
  • Case Management/Community-linked services and outreach

Elderly Abuse Statistics

17
percent

17% of people in the United States over 65 years old have abused prescription medications, according to the Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services.

30
percent

Approximately 30% of adults over 65 are given some type of prescription medicine, according to the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence.

1
Drink

According to the NIAAA, men and women aged 65 or older should consume no more than 1 drink daily and a maximum of 2 drinks on any occasion.

Senior Rehab: Addiction Recovery for Older Adults

Although drug abuse is generally associated with young people it is often common for older individuals too. Currently over a million people in the USA suffer from substance abuse which leads some older adults toward senior rehab.

The social changes that accompany age may increase the risk of substance abuse in the younger population, especially as many older people use prescription drugs. Senior rehabilitation services offer specialized care for people who have experienced substance abuse. The New York Times publishes that as of 2010, between 6 and 8 million American senior citizens battled a substance abuse or mental health disorder.

Drug and Alcohol Treatment Resources for the Elderly

Older people have a greater chance of drug use in their lifetimes than other people. The majority of people are using prescription medications for a range of health problems including headaches and fatigue. NCADD estimates that the elderly and older consume more than half of the prescription drugs in the country. And unlike other older individuals, older individuals have a higher chance to take an increasing number of their own medications each day. Substance abuse and mental health administrations say that about 3.7 percent of Americans are using five or more medications.

Elderly Prescription Drug Abuse

Although drug abuse is generally associated with young people it is often common for older individuals too. Currently over a million people in the USA suffer from substance abuse which leads some older adults toward senior rehab.

The social changes that accompany age may increase the risk of substance abuse in the younger population, especially as many older people use prescription drugs. Senior rehabilitation services offer specialized care for people who have experienced substance abuse. The New York Times publishes that as of 2010, between 6 and 8 million American senior citizens battled a substance abuse or mental health disorder.

Highlights of the Older Adults Program

4.4 million American seniors are undergoing addiction therapy by 2022, compared with 50.3 million in 2018. This issue may remain hidden from relatives. Many of those who are suffering from a substance abuse disorder may not understand how serious this problem is. It’s essential that we recognize the behaviors and symptoms that cause us harm are identified. Caron has been specializing in addressing addiction problems since 1923. We know that dialectic and behavioral therapies (CBT) are very effective tools and techniques for enhancing relationships and we also believe they teach people new coping skills.

An adaptable, comprehensive treatment program

Caroons special program for the elderly addresses addictions and the co-occurrence of conditions often found within older adults. The program is headquartered in Carone, Pennsylvania and is highly effective in identifying, and evaluating potential relapsive situations. We welcome personal flexibility in our approach to gaining well being and we adapt our programme based on age or mental health. In the individualized treatment plans of patients, important medical issues including heart disease and diabetes are also considered as part of the plan. Our addictions consultants perform psychological evaluation and cognitive testing for each client.

Signs and symptoms of substance abuse in older adults

Because some symptoms of drug abuse mirror age it becomes difficult to identify a problem’s extent. Some medicines used in older adults mimic substance abuse effects. It is also very difficult to determine how to treat addiction to drugs and alcohol in older people alone. Because the normal aging processes occur, drugs and alcohol have different effects on all parts of your body and because they don’t metabolise the same way they were previously. These indicators of substance addiction are often:

Treatment components

A multi-disciplinary team develops customised programs to deal directly with a variety of medical and psychological problems. The plan includes all of these components if necessary: The program includes regular wellness therapies including yoga, physiotherapy, massage and Aesthetics. The program encourages exercise through group movements, dance mindfulness therapy, percussion and other therapeutic techniques as determined. Our team treats those with substance use.

What is addiction rehabilitation for older people?

Addiction is hard to handle for older people due to aging. Some people are surprised that a significant percentage of older people have become addicted. Isolation, loneliness and untreated depressive disorder are among the major challenges faced by older adults battling substance abuse or addiction issues in the community. The increasing age of babies caused by cigarette smoking among people aged 50 or older has caused an increased number of people to use narcotics. This could result in increased addiction treatment services for this demographic in 2020.

Inpatient vs. Outpatient Treatment Facilities for the Elderly

When it comes to treatment for a drug addiction, a person should choose between outpatient treatment and inpatient treatment. Different addiction programs have advantages and disadvantages. You must take into account each and every one of these factors and make sure you or your older family member receives appropriate treatment to suit you and his/her unique needs. Often the elderly have difficulties with their environment which makes it difficult to choose the best rehab facility.

Rehab for Seniors Near Me

A good alcohol addiction rehab facility should treat patients holistically, because older adults have mental health issues that need treating in conjunction. There are several treatment options available for seniors who suffer from substance use disorders and other disorders. If a resident wants to find the optimum residential rehabilitation in the neighborhood, it is vital to consider the different types available to help them meet their needs.

What is addiction rehabilitation for seniors?

Our senior treatment centers with a special focus on their individual needs. As with most other forms of drug treatment, seniors rehab facilities should provide customised care and support for each individual patient. Senior patients may be faced with certain problems during admission to treatment. The treatment of this specific need may be helpful for senior people as: Although it is less understood about a safe treatment approach for seniors there are studies showing long term care programs such as 60 days, 30-day and 28 day programs can help improve health outcomes.

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