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Elderly And Their Addiction

Substance Addiction Among Senior Citizens

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 fast progressing health issue in the United States is drug and alcohol abuse among the elderly. The Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services classifies elderly addicts into hardy survivors (continuous substance abuse starting from younger years) and late onset (those who developed the habit during senior years). Help and treatment can be taken advantage by elderly addicts in spite of their age.


Cases among elderly are commonly overlooked thereby preventing them the opportunity for help or treatment.


Factors Of Addiction In The Elderly

Drug abuse occurring late in life can be attributed to few probable causes. These could be life-changing events or health-related issues that take an emotional toll.

Drug-abusing behaviour may be provoked by these events that can result in a full-scale addiction. Please give us a call on 0800 246 1509 today, if you or someone you know is battling with addiction problems later in life and requires assistance searching for a treatment program.


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

  • Retirement
  • The passing of someone they hold dearly.
  • Loss of income or financial stress
  • Resettlement or placement in a nursing home
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Family conflict
  • Physical or psychological health issues (depression, amnesia, life-threatening operations, etc.)

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The Risks Of Senior Citizens Drug Misuse

Substance or alcohol misuse among the older individuals particularly very risky because elderly people are highly vulnerable to the dropping consequences of these drugs.

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 openly prescribed and very dependent. Benzodiazepine addiction of elderly is found to have grown each year.


Metabolizing substances is much more difficult for senior citizens, together with an enhanced brain sensitivity to drugs or alcohol. The mere intake of drugs of alcohol in excess is already risky enough at this age.


Difficulties In Distinguishing Dependence In Senior Citizens

Alcohol or substance misuse may actually resemble signs of other medical or mental health illnesses, like diabetes, dementia or depression.

That is why "being old" is often a primary diagnosis for most psychological or physical health issues senior citizens receive at the doctor's.


Symptoms Of Dependency In Senior Citizens

Physical, psychological health, as well as private relationships, often begin to suffer when a person ages. It's important to pay attention to any unusual signs your elderly loved one displays, although addiction can be difficult to recognize in this demographic.

Some signs of elderly drug abuse to look for include:

  • Memory loss or gap
  • Erratic sleeping habits
  • Unexplained bruises
  • Irritability, sadness, depression
  • Persistent aches or pains
  • Changes in eating habits
  • Desire to be left alone
  • Failing to keep personal hygiene
  • Getting out of contact with family and friends
  • 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. 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 Addiction 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.