The rate of drug and alcohol abuse in our elderly population has been growing steadily over the past ten years, and it is projected to get much worse, without an end in sight. While addiction problems can happen to anyone, our elderly population is at a disadvantage because they may not recognize when it is time to ask for help. Rehab for seniors, specifically based upon their particular needs, is a much-needed intervention, one that is long overdue. Whether it’s our parents, one of our brothers and sisters, or even ourselves, intervention is necessary if a problem is identified. How do drugs affect older people, and why are the rates of abuse rising? Learn more about Fairwinds Treatment Center’s addiction treatment programs.
How Does Drug Abuse Effect Older People?
Everyone goes through serious life changes, and they seem to increase in intensity the older we get. Our kids are growing up, moving out, and living their own lives. We are either thinking of retiring, or we have already done so. If we are lucky enough to still have our parents, we may be taking care of them. Their mental health takes a toll.
The changes, or transitions, people continue to endure disrupt a certain routine that they established over time, one they have lived, and relied on, for decades. The natural aging of our bodies leaves us susceptible to injuries and disease. It also makes us more sensitive to the effects of the substances we take in. Our health isn’t what it used to be.
Many friends, neighbors, and family members are suffering from mental illness that developed over years of hard transitions. The use of drugs and excessive alcohol doesn’t seem so dangerous to someone who is depressed, and even scared, about coming near the end of their lives. Intervention is necessary.
How Can Drugs and Alcohol Affect an Older Person Without Addiction Treatment Programs?
Did you know that 80% of our elderly population in the U.S. takes prescription medication every day? Half of them take more than five each day. Some medications can give you energy, while others calm anxiety. If a drug changes the way that you feel, about yourself and about the world, then it can be abused, intentionally or not. It is very easy to cross that line from use to abuse, and many people don’t realize when they have done it.
Many older people have to take opiates to deal with pain, for example. Back pain, arthritis, shingles, and many other diseases can cause such extreme pain that a person needs to take hydrocodone, even morphine, to have any quality of life. It is so incredibly easy to fall into the opioid trap and an older body is simply more susceptible to the side effects of the medication, such as irregular breathing and loss of consciousness. Rates of accidental overdoses from opiates are rising, especially in people over the age of 65.
Alcohol is legal, easy to find, and extremely dangerous to an older person, especially if they do take prescription medications. Alcohol is the most abused drug of our older population and the cause of many deaths. 65% of our elderly admit to drinking to excess and 10% of them admit to routine binge drinking. It’s time to put down the bottle and reenter your life. It’s never, ever too late to quit.
Defeat Addiction and Enjoy Your Life With Fairwinds Treatment Center’s 55+ Addiction Treatment Programs
Older adults can forget that they have taken their medication, only to take more. Drugs and alcohol can exacerbate previous conditions and comorbid disorders. A doctor misdiagnoses a patient because they believe a certain symptom is caused by an internal problem, instead of drug use. There is always help available, tailored to your specific needs.
Treatment for alcohol abuse and drug use isn’t just for the kids. Fairwinds Treatment Center has responded to this increasing need by creating its 55+ Addiction Treatment Program. If you or a loved one are over the age of 55 and need help, we’re here. If you are under 55, and you need our help, we’re here. Take your first steps towards sobriety today and give us a call at 1.800.226.0301.