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Drug And Alcohol Abuse Among Seniors And Older Adults in the U.S

Many people have seen a member of their family in their older years who may have battled alcohol addiction, or some form of drug addiction, whether that may be prescription or illicit drugs. The baby-boomer generation has seen its fair share of illicit drug abuse and use over the years. Unfortunately today, many of these individuals are still struggling with some form of a substance abuse problem. In fact, an interesting prediction was made by the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence, saying it was predicted that by the year 2020, persons who are 50 years or older and require substance abuse treatment will have doubled.

Many baby boomers may have gotten hooked on drugs in their early years and probably never really thought anything of it, simply thinking that they could stop at any time. As the years pass, the using of drugs was still lingering around, they found themselves using not recreationally anymore, but on a more consistent basis. Now in their early to late 50’s, and still working, with their kids currently having kids and so on, an addiction has become part of his or her life. Treatment centers throughout the United States at one time saw huge influxes of a person 50 years or older entering rehabilitation. These were the 50-year-old crack addicts, or 50-year-old junkies going back and forth between heroine and methadone, men and woman who have been abusing drugs longer than their kids have been alive. Because more and more solutions are available for drug and alcohol addiction and more awareness being generated through prevention and education campaigns; these addiction problems they have could not go un-noticed. Many of these individuals managed to kick their habit and regain control over things and start improving their health again. Life-long drug abuse will take a huge toll on a person’s body and mind, but if the right help is gotten, many things can be reversed.

Did you know this about drug abuse in the elder community?

Many elders are battling a drug-abuse problem, and most of it can be traced back to prescription meds. It was reported that between 2000 and 2008, there was a 70% increase of elders being admitted into drug treatment programs.

Unfortunately today, prescription drug abuse is most definitely a problem among persons 65 or older, especially considering over 30% of the prescriptions given in the Untied States are given to this age group. They may only comprise just over 10% of the population, but it is not un-common for many of these individuals to become hooked on the prescriptions they are given. Pain medication is one of the more common drugs, along with anti-anxiety and sleeping medications. People 65 or older are at greater risk of major health problems when it comes to addiction, especially when mixing medications with other drugs they may be taking. Accidental overdose, heart attacks, and seizures have occurred in this age group from people abusing prescription medications and mixing drugs. There are more and more treatment programs available throughout the Untied states that are equipped and able to treat persons in the 50 years or older category. Many of these center's staff doctors and nurses on site, and provide the right form of medical care to help them get through their addiction. Some of these centers will only accept people in that age group so as they are around people their own age and not in a center with younger people. The resources are there now, and the right help can be found; persons in this age bracket will no longer have to struggle with a substance abuse problem.

Works cited – “Seniors and Drugs” (

What types of rehabilitation programs are available for senior adults?

The types of rehabilitation, which are available for senior adults, include detox programs, many of which offer medical detox services. This method of detox is more commonly used among this demographic of people, because of the prescription drug abuse, alcohol abuse, and dependency problems that do affect senior citizens. Medical detox can help safely withdraw and taper an older patient off the substances, and more importantly stabilize their overall health to prepare them for further assistance. Substance abuse treatment programs provided within the outpatient and inpatient sector of treatment offer many different treatment options to help handle addiction among senior citizens. Inpatient centers may be more equipped and provide a much more stable solution to help older adults, as the patient can be monitored better throughout their treatment. With aftercare treatment, many suitable sober living communities and twelve-step support groups throughout the United States can specifically help a senior adult, and their families stabilize his or her life again.

How do I help my loved one get the help they need?

Helping to convince an older/senior adult that there is a problem can be an arduous task, and will add much stress on the family because of how difficult it may be. Some of the toughest interventions done by professional interventionists are those conducted on elder adults, but in almost every circumstance, a professional intervention is required to help them. Initially, some of the first steps to assist in these circumstances are for the family and friends to determine how severe the addiction is, and to talk to the person about their problem. Once this is done, the family can make a safe determination on how to proceed next, and begin a search for detox and/or treatment solutions within their area or a surrounding state. If their loved one is willing to get help, and does recognize there is a problem, then no intervention will be required, but if the other extreme presents itself the family will have to search for a professional interventionist. Intervention services within the United States are normally available in every state, and some have more experience than others with this type of intervention. What is important to remember here is that help is gotten right away, as these types of addiction problems can potentially rapidly become worse.

How is drug addiction among older adults handled?

Addiction among senior adults, specifically those 60 years and older is becoming a growing epidemic within the United States. Prescription drug abuse and alcohol abuse are becoming a problem within this particular demographic, but the resources available to help treat addiction among senor adults is changing and becoming more equipped to handle the problem. The primary problem is an ever-growing consumption of alcohol and the mixture of prescription medications, or the abuse of these prescribed drugs. Drug addiction among senior citizens is treated in much of the same way as it is with the younger generations, but rehabilitation methods are focused on the singular problem, with much of the attention on the individuals existing health, and how to treat their addiction. Many of the various outpatient and inpatient drug rehab centers throughout the United States have developed tailored programs to assist with addiction and dependency among older/senior adults. From detox, rehabilitation, and aftercare, much of all the standard treatment options will be capable of handling addiction among senior citizens.

Drug and Alcohol Treatment for Older/Senior Adults in the United States

The drug and alcohol rehabilitation programs available throughout the United States can be as effective for elderly and senior adults as it is with the younger generation. For example, the baby-boomer generation is of course getting older, and do face many of the same problems with addiction as younger adults. Pharmaceutical addiction, long-standing addictive behavior carried on throughout the years, and just the overall increase and availability of medications, especially addictive drugs have caused addictions to become more prominent. The drug and alcohol rehabilitation sector throughout the United States has adapted to the needs of older and senior adults, with thousands of distinctive programs capable of providing effective services. There are so many distinct circumstances where these rehabilitation options are required, and so many families utilize these services for their loved ones. For the senior citizens living throughout the United States, there are some particular steps they should take, and their families should consider when locating suitable treatment options.