Drug And Alcohol Dependence In The Elderly who-addiction-affects

Senior Citizens And Substance Addiction

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.


In the UK, substance addiction among senior citizens is a constantly increasing health issue. 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. Help and treatment can be taken advantage by elderly addicts in spite of their age.


Dependence within individuals of 65 and over is normally underestimated and under-diagnosed, which can actually avoid them from receiving the assistance they urgently require.


Causes Of Dependence In The Senior Citizens

Drug abuse occurring late in life can be attributed to few probable causes. Anything that has a strong emotional impact on a person, like health problems or some life-changing situations can contribute to this.

Substance abuse can be seen as a solution to these situations, which can lead to a comprehensive addiction. Please contact us today on 0800 246 1509 if you or a person you care about is having addiction troubles in their older age and require help with looking for a rehab program.


Likely precipitants for drug or alcohol addiction in the elderly are

  • Retirement
  • Death of a close family member, spouse, friend or a pet.
  • Loss of income or financial stress
  • Relocation or transferring to a nursing home
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Family conflict
  • Health deterioration (depression, memory loss, major surgeries, etc.)

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The Risk Of Elderly Substance Abuse

Since senior citizens are increasingly prone to the degrading effects of these substances, drug or alcohol abuse among the elderly is specifically harmful.

Some of the most innocuous prescription drugs for the elderly is Benzodiazepines, which are used to treat anxiety, pain or insomnia. These are generously prescribed and highly addictive. The number of elderly people addicted to benzos have gone up each year.


At 65 our body has diminished its ability to break down drugs and alcohol which contributes to increased susceptibility to their effects. That means that even those senior citizens that aren't addicted are exposing themselves to increased risk if they use drugs or alcohol.


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.

There are cases where doctors attribute the deteriorating mental and physical condition to old age.


Symptoms Of Dependency In Older People

This may not always be true but together with mental and physical health, relationships of older persons also decline. Even though dependence can be troublesome to identify in this demographic, it's really vital to take note to any strange symptoms your aging loved one shows.

Below are few of the tricky signs of elderly addiction

  • Memory problems
  • Changes in sleeping practices
  • Unexplained bruises
  • Feeling irritable, sad and depressed
  • Undetermined chronic pain
  • Changes in eating habits
  • Want to be left alone
  • Lack of personal hygiene
  • Losing ties with loved ones
  • Lack of interest in normal activities

It is imperative to ask professional assistance from experts once substance abuse is confirmed or recognized 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. 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, medical practitioners, and caregivers are encouraged to be keen to the rising cases of elderly substance abuse and report them immediately.