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Substance Abuse in the Elderly

Substance Abuse in the Elderly

While the media typically illustrates images of twenty-somethings in and out of treatment, they are not the only ones susceptible to the effects of addiction. In fact, substance abuse in the elderly is more common than you may think. According to data collected in 2018, the number of adults over the age of 65 suffering from addiction has risen to nearly 1 million. 

If you or a loved one is struggling with addiction, our Pompano Beach drug rehab is sharing more on the causes and signs of substance abuse in the elderly and how we can help. 

Elderly and Substance Abuse: Causes and Contributing Factors 

The unique challenges that come with age can be the driving factor toward developing a substance abuse problem. Some common contributing factors to drug addiction in the elderly include: 

  • Loneliness 
  • Abandonment 
  • Loss of meaning or direction 
  • Boredom 
  • Detachment from those around us 
  • Family conflict 
  • Fear of the unknown 

These can increase in severity when considering major life changes involved with old age, many of which relate to the idea of loss. Loss of our youth, loss of mobility, and perhaps most importantly, loss of those we love. But, despite how life can make us feel, our addiction and mental health treatment in Pompano is always available for those who need it.  

Signs of Substance Abuse in the Elderly 

Some of the most common signs of substance abuse among the elderly include: 

  • Memory loss 
  • Increased Irritability 
  • Social withdrawal 
  • Impaired motor skills 
  • Slurred speech 
  • Intense emotional responses 
  • Irregular sleep schedule 
  • Change in eating habits 

It is important to note that these symptoms can also be considered normal hallmarks of old age. That doesn’t mean they should be written off as “no big deal.” Accepting that dependence is present is the first step toward learning how to manage it. The list could easily go on for miles, but the fact still rings true: No one, at any age, should be left to suffer in silence. If you or someone you know is a senior citizen who takes several prescribed medications, be on the lookout for these possible signs of drug abuse. 

Elderly Substance Abuse Statistics 

Oftentimes, the elderly are one of the most forgotten about demographics in our country. This does nothing to detract from the fact that addiction ravages an ever-growing number of its members. According to a 2018 study, the most abused drugs among the elderly include: 

  • 10.7% of seniors reported binge drinking 
  • 1.3 % reported misusing opioids 
  • 0.2 % reported sedative abuse 

Drug abuse can have a significant impact on the human body, but add old age on top of it, and the risk of injury, permanent damage, and death rise exponentially. Banyan Treatment Centers offers an array of specialized treatment programs accessible to adults of all ages to help them safely recover from substance abuse. 

Elderly Substance Abuse Treatment 

Substance abuse is a common issue for one of the most vulnerable demographics in our country. The warning signs of addiction amongst senior citizens often go unnoticed because these groups tend to be heavily medicated, with symptoms being written off as regular aspects of old age. However, the high rate of written prescriptions increases the risk of substance abuse. Regardless of age, addiction can affect you and those you hold close. 

If you or your loved one needs help, call our Pompano rehabilitation center at 888-280-4763 for more information about our Mature and Mindfulness Program for those in the elderly community with substance use disorders. 





Related Reading:  

Impact of Alcohol on Mental Health 

Drugs That Can Cause Overdose 

Alyssa, Director of Digital Marketing
Alyssa, Director of Digital Marketing
Alyssa is the National Director of Digital Marketing and is responsible for a multitude of integrated campaigns and events in the behavioral health and addictions field. All articles have been written by Alyssa and medically reviewed by our Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Darrin Mangiacarne.