When most people think of drug addictions, their elderly parents or senior loved ones aren't typically the first people that come to mind. However, people who are aged 65 and older account for about 30 percent of prescription medications in the United States. Many of the health problems seniors are diagnosed with, such as chronic illness, depression and insomnia are treated with prescription medications that have a high risk for addiction, including opioids and benzodiazepines. It is estimated that about 17 percent of adults who are aged 60 and over may be abusing prescription drugs, so it is important to know the signs of drug abuse.
Factors Contributing to Elderly Drug Abuse and Addiction
Elderly adults often take more than one prescription medication each day, which increases the risk of taking the wrong medications, taking more than what is prescribed and drug interactions. In addition to common mistakes with their medications, aging often slows the liver's ability to filter out the medications, which puts the elderly at a higher risk of becoming addicted at lower doses of some medications than a younger adult. Late onset of drug abuse in the elderly is typically brought on by medical problems and major life changes, including:
Symptoms of Elderly Drug Abuse
Some of the warning signs of elderly drug abuse and addiction are often viewed as part of their normal aging process, which sometimes result in a missed diagnosis of their addiction, so it is important to pay close attention to the warning signs and symptoms. If you suspect your elderly parent or other elderly loved one may have an addiction to prescription medications, seek help through a local drug treatment center as soon as possible. Some of the warning signs of elderly drug abuse may include:
Treatment for Elderly Drug Abuse and Addictions
Fortunately, there are drug and alcohol treatment centers that specialize in providing treatment for elderly adults. The treatment for an addiction to prescription medications depends on the severity of the addiction, what drugs are being abused and the seriousness of the withdrawal symptoms. When treating the elderly for a drug addiction, the treatment center will also take into consideration any medical problems and limitations, such mobility. Senior drug addiction treatment is typically comprised of:
Living with an addiction is a struggle for anyone. Seniors who are addicted to drugs are often hesitant to seek help when they need it, because they do not want to be thought of as a burden or they may be concerned about what others think of them. If your elderly parent or loved one lives alone, it is critical that you visit as often as possible and be aware of how they are using their medications. If you suspect drug abuse, seek help immediately with a drug and alcohol treatment center—such as Triumph Treatment Services—that provides services for the elderly.Share
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