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Dependence In The Elderly

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.


A fast progressing health issue in the United States is drug and alcohol abuse among the elderly. 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.


Factors Of Addiction In The Elderly

There are many causes for developing a substance addiction even as a senior citizen. These could be life-changing events or health-related issues that take an emotional toll.

These are few of the things that are causing older folks to turn to substance abuse. 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.


Here are some of the probable reasons why elderly are resorting to substance abuse:

  • Retirement
  • Death of spouse, a family member, pet or close friend.
  • Financial Issues
  • Moving to another place or to a nursing home
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Family fights
  • Psychological or physical health decline (depression, memory loss, major surgeries, and many more)

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The Risk Of Elderly Substance Abuse

Older persons are at greater risk of experiencing hazardous effects of drugs and alcohol, which means that substance abuse is a lot more dangerous for them.

Benzodiazepines, which are applied to heal anxiety, pain or sleep disorder, are a few of the most risky prescription drugs for the elderly. These are generously prescribed and highly addictive. Benzodiazepine addiction of elderly is found to have grown each year.


People above the age of 65 have a diminished capability to metabolize substances or alcohol together with a heightened brain sensitivity to them. The mere intake of drugs of alcohol in excess is already risky enough at this age.


Identifying Substance Abuse Among Elderly Can Be Tricky

The effects or symptoms manifested by elderly abusers could be mistaken with symptoms of dementia, diabetes and other health issues suffered by older people.

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

This may not always be true but together with mental and physical health, relationships of older persons also decline. 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.

Drug usage in the elderly can sow itself in signs including:

  • Amnesia
  • Changes in sleeping practices
  • Undetermined bruises
  • Irritability, depression, sadness
  • Persistent aches or pains
  • Changes in eating habits
  • Preference to solitude
  • Undesirable personal hygiene
  • Cutting off communication with family
  • Losing interest in regular activities

It is critical to find out a treatment centre that has specific experience working with seniors facing addiction once an addiction is identified.

It is also important to admit them to facilities that specialise in elderly addiction due to the commonly lacking family or social support at this age. Approach to medical, psychiatric and social resources to permit for a healthy lifestyle to continue after treatment is offered to the seniors by these case management services.


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.