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.
A rapidly growing health problem in the United States is Drug and Alcohol abuse among the elderly. Drug and alcohol abuse among elderly is, according to the Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services, classified in a couple of general groups: the "late onset" addicts, which is a group that developed the addiction in their older years, and "hardy survivor" which is a term for addicts that have been abusing drug or alcohol for a longer period and have turned 65 in the meantime. Help and treatment can be taken advantage by elderly addicts in spite of their age.
Cases among elderly are commonly overlooked thereby preventing them the opportunity for help or treatment.
Factors Of Abuse Among Senior Citizens
There are several things involved in contributing to someone turning to substance abuse later in life. Anything that has a strong emotional impact on a person, like health problems or some life-changing situations can contribute to this.
These situations may arouse substance ill-using trait that can lead to an all-out dependence. Pick up the phone and talk to us on 0800 772 3971 if you or a loved one is battling substance abuse.
Possible triggers for drug or alcohol addiction in the elderly are:
Death of a close family member, spouse, friend or a pet.
Financial problems or job loss
Moving to another place or to a nursing home
Fights in the family
Physical or psychological health issues (depression, amnesia, life-threatening operations, etc.)
The human body becomes more vulnerable to the ill effects of drugs as it grows older.
Benzodiazepines are probably the most hazardous prescription substances for elderly, even though they are generally used to treat pain, anxiety and sleeping issues. 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.
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.
Challenges In Identifying Addiction Of Senior Citizens
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."
Signs Of Addiction In Senior Citizens
There is a decline in their mental health, physical health and personal relationships as people 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.
A few symptoms of senior citizens substance misuse to search for are:
Depression, irritability, sadness,
Unexplained chronic pain
Changes in eating habits
Prefers to be alone often
Undesirable personal hygiene
Losing ties with loved ones
Losing interest in regular activities
It is important to look for a rehab facility when you recognize an addiction, especially one with a particular expertise with addiction among elderly.
Since individuals over 65 particularly are devoid of the social support needed throughout recovery, so you should search for programs that specialize in this kind of addiction and also provide case management services. The continued healthy lifestyle is allowed after the treatment with these case management services that provide the elderly with access to medical, psychiatric, and social resources.
Senior Citizen Abuse 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.