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Drug And Alcohol Dependence In The Elderly

Older Citizens And Dependence Abuse

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.


It was found that substance abuse among elderly in the United States is increasing at an unprecedented rate. 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. There are treatment options available to help you get back on a healthy path, regardless of how old you are or when your addiction started.


Undercalculation and under diagnosis of addiction among people 65 and up can limit them from receiving the support they require.


Causes Of Dependence In The Senior Citizens

There are many causes for developing a substance addiction even as a senior citizen. These could be health problems or life-altering occurrences which lead to a psychological burden.

These situations may arouse substance ill-using trait that can lead to an all-out dependence. Whether you or a person you know is fighting with dependence problems later in life and require detecting a healing plan, contact us on 0800 246 1509.


Possible triggers for drug or alcohol addiction in the elderly are:

  • Retirement
  • Death of someone close, or a pet.
  • Financial Issues
  • Resettlement or placement in a nursing home
  • Insomnia
  • Family conflict
  • Mental or physical health deterioration (depression, memory loss, major surgeries, 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 prescribed generously and are more addictive. There has been rise in the rate of elderly addicted to benzos.


Senior citizens have a decreased ability to metabolize drugs or alcohol along with an increased brain sensitivity to them. This makes it very risky for elderly individuals to utilize substances or alcohol at all, despite the person being not addicted.


Difficulties In Distinguishing Dependence In Senior Citizens

Drug or Alcohol abuse may actually imitate symptoms of other mental or medical health disorders, such as dementia, diabetes or depression.

It makes it simpler for doctors who come across an older patient to attribute deteriorating mental or physical health simply to "old age".


Signs Of Dependence In Elderly Individuals

Physical, psychological health, as well as private relationships, often begin to suffer when a person ages. The task of recognizing the real symptoms of abuse among elderly can be tricky but it pays to be a little more keen to their behaviour or demeanour.

Below are few of the tricky signs of elderly addiction:

  • Memory loss or gap
  • Changes in sleeping practices
  • Unexplained bruises
  • Depression, anxiety, sadness
  • Persistent aches or pains
  • Changes in eating habits
  • Wanting to be on your own most of the time
  • Undesirable hygiene
  • Cutting off communication with family
  • Losing interest in regular activities

It is imperative to ask professional assistance from experts once substance abuse is confirmed or recognized among elderly.

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. These case management services will offer the ageing with reach to medical, psychiatric and social resources to grant for a very healthy wellbeing to progress after healing.


Senior Citizen Abuse 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.