Drug and Alcohol Rehab for Seniors

The population of senior citizens in the United States is growing at a rapid rate. Many of the elderly are Baby Boomers, people who were born between 1946 and 1964, when there was a huge surge in births. This generation grew up during the period that is referred to as “free love”, which was marked by experimentation with drugs and alcohol. Many of the people who were adolescents during this time started using drugs and alcohol, and their use turned into abuse and eventually addiction. Those who developed an addiction to substances may not have sought the necessary treatment, and as such, are still battling their demons during their Golden Years.

Drug abuse and addiction can also start later in life. Many senior citizens are confronted with a host of issues; financial difficulties, health problems, loneliness, and depression, for example. Elderly individuals that are dealing with these types of problems may turn to drugs or alcohol as a way to self-medicate. Substances may help them feel better or numb the pain that they are experiencing. However, the effects of drugs or alcohol only last a short while, which leads to repeated use in order to experience the same effects. Repeated use leads to tolerance, and tolerance can lead to addiction.

To further compound the addiction problems that are plaguing senior citizens is the rise in prescription medications. Many seniors are prescribed painkillers like OxyContin or Percocet, to ease ailments, such as arthritis. Those who are suffering from depression may be prescribed benzodiazepines, such as Xanax or Valium, to help them cope with their symptoms. While these medications can be helpful, they are also highly addictive.

The growing problem of addiction among senior citizens has highlighted the importance of appropriate treatment for this age group. Many addiction specialists suggest that the elderly population requires a different approach to treatment than those who are younger than them. The reason? – The circumstances and needs of seniors are much different than younger individuals.

Signs and Symptoms of Substance Abuse and Addiction Among Seniors

It can be difficult to recognize the signs and symptoms of alcohol or drug abuse and addiction in the elderly. This problem partly lies in the fact that many seniors are isolated. Those who are retired or who live alone away from loved ones may not have regular interaction with other individuals. Medical professionals and those who do have regular contact may hesitate to mention that they suspect a problem exists because they fear that they will be partaking in ageism, a form of prejudice toward the elderly.

With that said, it is important to pay attention to the elderly in your life. If you notice any of the following signs or symptoms, there is a chance that a senior may be suffering from substance abuse and addiction:

  • Drastic changes in temperament or mood swings
  • An increased amount of prescription medications
  • Failing hygiene; not bathing, not combing his or her hair, wearing dirty clothing
  • Poor living conditions; for example, someone who once took pride in his or her environment may stop taking care of his or her house
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Unexplained injuries, such as bumps, bruises, and scratches
  • Cognitive decline that isn’t associated with a medical issue
  • Doctor shopping; changing doctors in order to receive more prescription medications or in order to avoid questioning about previously prescribed medications

If an elderly person in your life – whether it’s a parent, a grandparent, and aunt, uncle, or neighbor – is showing any of the above-mentioned signs, it’s a wise idea to investigate the possibility of addiction.

Substance Abuse and Addiction Rehab for Senior Citizens

As mentioned, seniors may require specializes treatment for substance abuse and addiction. Their needs are much different than the needs of younger generations. As such, they require treatment approaches that cater to their unique needs. Due to the increasing amount of seniors that are suffering from addiction, there has been a rise in the number of age-specific rehabilitation centers in the country. These programs include inpatient, intensive outpatient, short-term, and long-term care facilities.

At an age-specific rehab, your loved one will receive the customized care that he or she needs in order to combat addiction and seek recovery.

Recovery is Possible. We can Help

If an elderly loved one in your life is suffering from addiction, contact us today. We will help you find a reputable treatment facility that will provide the necessary tools, strategies, therapies, counseling, and other forms of care that your loved one requires. Treatment is  possible. We can help.