It's not new to grow dependence at a late stage in life, but the health consequences of drug ill-use for individuals above the age of 65 can be even more severe than in younger abusers.
In the UK, substance addiction among senior citizens is a constantly increasing health issue. The Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services classifies elderly addicts into hardy survivors (continuous substance abuse starting from younger years) and late onset (those who developed the habit during senior years). There are treatment choices available to help you get back on a healthy track, it doesn't matter what your age is or when addiction began.
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 that can cause a full-scale addiction may be triggered by these events. Pick up the phone and talk to us on 0800 772 3971 if you or a loved one is battling substance abuse.
Some of the reasons that provoke senior citizens to begin substance abuse are:
Death of a close relative, partner, pet or close friend.
Moving to another place or to a nursing home
Fights in the family
Psychological or physical health decline (depression, memory loss, major surgeries, and many more)
Older persons are at greater risk of experiencing hazardous effects of drugs and alcohol, which means that substance abuse is a lot more dangerous for them.
Benzodiazepines, which are applied to heal anxiety, pain or sleep disorder, are a few of the most risky prescription drugs for the elderly. These are prescribed generously and are more addictive. Every year the rate of senior citizens addicted to benzos increases.
At 65 our body has diminished its ability to break down drugs and alcohol which contributes to increased susceptibility to their effects. 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
The effects or symptoms manifested by elderly abusers could be mistaken with symptoms of dementia, diabetes and other health issues suffered by older people.
That is why "being old" is often a primary diagnosis for most psychological or physical health issues senior citizens receive at the doctor's.
Symptoms Of Dependency In Senior Citizens
This may not always be true but together with mental and physical health, relationships of older persons also decline. The task of recognizing the real symptoms of abuse among elderly can be tricky but it pays to be a little more keen to their behaviour or demeanour.
Some symptoms of senior citizen drug abuse you should pay attention to are:
Memory loss or gap
Changes in sleeping habits
Irritability, depression, sadness
Unexplained chronic pain
Prefers to be alone often
Getting out of contact with family and friends
Lack of interest in regular activities
It is important to look for a rehab facility when you recognize an addiction, especially one with a particular expertise with addiction among elderly.
Individuals over 65 typically lack the social support required throughout recovery therefore, you should look for programs that offer case management services and also specialize in this type of addiction. Getting them access to case management services will also enable them to enjoy other resources necessary to their recovery be it medical, psychiatric or relational support.
Elderly Addiction Statistics
Family, medical practitioners, and caregivers are encouraged to be keen to the rising cases of elderly substance abuse and report them immediately.