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Drug And Alcohol Addiction of Senior Citizens

Substance Addiction Among Senior Citizens

Drug abusers aged 65 and above are prone to more risks and it may be surprising but addiction is common even at this age.


It was found that substance abuse among elderly in the United States is increasing at an unprecedented rate. The Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services classifies elderly addicts into hardy survivors (continuous substance abuse starting from younger years) and late onset (those who developed the habit during senior years). If you want to beat your addiction, regardless of your age or when you began using a substance, there are numerous treatment alternatives you can choose from.


People older than 65 are often having inadequate help with their addiction because that issue in elderly is often not thought as a serious and is often no diagnosed.


Causes Of Dependence In The Senior Citizens

Many things could lead to someone turning to substance abuse later in life. These could be health problems or life-altering occurrences which lead to a psychological burden.

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.


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

  • Retirement
  • Death of a close relative, partner, pet or close friend.
  • Financial problems or job loss
  • Relocation to a nursing home
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Family fights
  • Mental or physical health decline (depression, amnesia, life-threatening operations, etc.)

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The Risk Of Elderly Substance Abuse

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. These are generously prescribed and highly addictive. 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. Thus it is dangerous for seniors to use drugs or alcohol at all, even if the person isn't dependent.


How To Recognize 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

There is a decline in their mental health, physical health and personal relationships as people get older. It is very significant to look for some extraordinary signs a senior citizen you care about shows, especially because it can be hard to spot an addiction in the older population.

Some signs of elderly drug abuse to look for include:

  • Memory troubles
  • Changes in sleeping habits
  • Unexplained bruises
  • Irritability, sadness, depression
  • Persistent aches or pains
  • Changes in eating habits
  • Wanting to be on your own most of the time
  • Undesirable hygiene
  • Losing contact with loved ones
  • Losing interest in usual activities

The moment dependence is discovered, it is very important to look for a healing base that has particular knowhow functioning with elderly facing dependence.

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 Misuse 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.