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Dependence In The Elderly

Senior Citizens And Substance Abuse

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


A fast progressing health issue 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. If you want to beat your addiction, regardless of your age or when you began using a substance, there are numerous treatment alternatives you can choose from.


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

Drug abuse occurring late in life can be attributed to few probable causes. These could turn out to be health-related concerns or life-changing situations that assume an emotional toll.

Substance abuse can be seen as a solution to these situations, which can lead to a comprehensive 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.


Possible inducers of substance or alcohol dependence in the older individuals 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
  • Insomnia
  • Family conflict
  • Health deterioration (depression, memory loss, major surgeries, etc.)

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The Risk Of Elderly Substance Abuse

Since senior citizens are increasingly prone to the degrading effects of these substances, drug or alcohol abuse among the elderly is specifically harmful.

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. Year after year, the rate of elderly benzos dependencies is steadily increasing.


Metabolizing substances is much more difficult for senior citizens, together with an enhanced brain sensitivity to drugs or alcohol. This makes it very risky for elderly individuals to utilize substances or alcohol at all, despite the person being not addicted.


Distinguishing Addiction In The Elderly

Drug or Alcohol abuse may actually imitate symptoms of other mental or medical health disorders, such as dementia, diabetes or depression.

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


Signs Of Dependence In Elderly Individuals

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

Drug usage in the elderly can sow itself in signs including:

  • Memory loss
  • Sleeping troubles
  • Unexplained bruises
  • Depression, irritability, sadness,
  • Unexplained chronic pain
  • Eating pattern changes
  • Preference to solitude
  • Lack of personal hygiene
  • Cutting off communication with family
  • Lack of interest in regular activities

It is crucial to search out a treatment centre that has particular experience working with seniors struggling with addiction, once an addiction is recognized.

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. Access to medical, social and psychiatric resources that can help seniors keep up their healthy habits once they leave treatment will be secured by using these case management services.


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.