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Dependence In The Elderly

Senior Citizens And Substance Addiction

Although it's not unpopular for an addiction later in life, the health effects of substance abuse for those over the age of 65 can be even more dangerous than in younger users.


Substance and alcohol misuse amidst the senior is a quickly developing health issue within the United States. 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.


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


Causes Of Dependence In The Senior Citizens

There are many causes for developing a substance addiction even as a senior citizen. Some of them may have dealt with desperate situations or are suffering hopelessness due to sickness.

Drug-abusing behaviour may be provoked by these events that can result in a full-scale addiction. 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 someone close, or a pet.
  • Financial strains or loss of income
  • Resettlement or placement in a nursing home
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Family fights
  • Health deterioration (depression, memory loss, major surgeries, etc.)

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The Dangers Of Senior Citizen Substance Abuse

The human body becomes more vulnerable to the ill effects of drugs as it grows older.

It is found out that drugs like Benzodiazepines pose dangerous risks to elderly. Despite its addicting potency, it is commonly prescribed by doctors to older people. 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. Even when the person is not addicted, it becomes harmful for seniors to use drugs or alcohol totally.


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.

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


Signs Of Dependence In Elderly Individuals

The mental health, physical health and personal relationships of people may start to deteriorate as they get older. 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.

Below are few of the tricky signs of elderly addiction:

  • Memory loss or gap
  • Erratic sleeping habits
  • Unexplained bruises
  • Feeling irritable, sad and depressed
  • Persistent aches or pains
  • Eating disorder
  • Desire to be left alone
  • Failing to bathe or stay clean
  • Losing communication with loved ones
  • Lack of 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. The continued healthy lifestyle is allowed after the treatment with these case management services that provide the elderly with access to medical, psychiatric, and social resources.


Senior Citizen Addiction Statistics

Family, friends, care providers and doctors need to stop ignoring the disturbing rate of addictions to numerous substances among people age 65 and older since it really is a thing to worry about.