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Dependence In The Elderly

Senior Citizens And Substance Abuse

It's not new to grow dependence at a late stage in life, but the health consequences of drug ill-use for individuals above the age of 65 can be even more severe than in younger abusers.


A rapidly growing health problem in the United States is Drug and Alcohol abuse among the elderly. Substance abuse among senior citizens can be classified into two general forms: the "hardy survivor," or those who have been abusing substances for many years and have reached 65, and the "late onset" group, which is those whose addictions take place later in life, according to the Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services. There are treatment choices available to help you get back on a healthy track, it doesn't matter what your age is or when addiction began.


Addiction among people 65 and up is often under-diagnosed and underestimated, which can stop them from getting the help they need.


Factors Of Addiction In The Elderly

There are various factors that could lead to a person begin embracing drug misuse later in life. These could be life-changing events or health-related issues that take an emotional toll.

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.


Some of the reasons that provoke senior citizens to begin substance abuse are:

  • Retirement
  • Death of spouse, a family member, pet or close friend.
  • Loss of income or financial stress
  • Relocation or transferring to a nursing home
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Family conflict
  • Psychological or physical health decline (depression, memory loss, major surgeries, and many more)

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The Risk Of Elderly Substance Abuse

Senior citizens are more susceptible to the deteriorating effects of drug and alcohol, therefore, these substances are particularly dangerous among the elderly.

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


Individuals over 65 have an increased brain sensitivity to drugs or alcohol along with a decreased ability to metabolize them. The mere intake of drugs of alcohol in excess is already risky enough at this age.


Challenges In Identifying Addiction Of Senior Citizens

Some of the psychological or physical health issues, like dementia, depression or diabetes might actually have similar side effects to substance abuse.

This makes it very simple for physicians who come across an elderly patient to tally reducing psychological or physical health just to "old age."


Symptoms Of Dependency In Older People

As individuals become aged, their mental wellbeing, physical wellbeing and private ties may begin to drop. 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.

Some symptoms of senior citizen drug abuse you should pay attention to are:

  • Memory loss or gap
  • Sleeping troubles
  • Unexplained bruises
  • Depression, anxiety, sadness
  • Unidentified chronic pain
  • Changes in eating habits
  • Wanting to be on your own most of the time
  • Lack of personal hygiene
  • Cutting off communication with family
  • Losing interest in usual activities

It is important to look for a rehab facility when you recognize an addiction, especially one with a particular expertise with addiction among elderly.

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. 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.