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Elderly And Their Addiction

Senior Citizens And Substance Addiction

Drug abusers aged 65 and above are prone to more risks and it may be surprising but addiction is common even at this age.


In the UK, substance addiction among senior citizens is a constantly increasing health issue. 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.


Undercalculation and under diagnosis of addiction among people 65 and up can limit them from receiving the support they require.


Causes Of Dependence In The Senior Citizens

There are various factors that could lead to a person begin embracing drug misuse later in life. These could turn out to be health-related concerns or life-changing situations that assume an emotional toll.

Drug-abusing behaviour may be provoked by these events that can result in a full-scale addiction. Please contact us today on 0800 246 1509 if you or a person you care about is having addiction troubles in their older age and require help with looking for a rehab program.


Likely precipitants for drug or alcohol addiction in the elderly are:

  • Retirement
  • Death of a close family member, spouse, friend or a pet.
  • Financial Issues
  • Resettlement or placement in a nursing home
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Family fights
  • Mental or physical health decline (depression, amnesia, life-threatening operations, etc.)

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The Dangers Of Senior Citizen Substance Abuse

Substance or alcohol misuse among the older individuals particularly very risky because elderly people are highly vulnerable to the dropping consequences of these drugs.

Some of the most innocuous prescription drugs for the elderly is Benzodiazepines, which are used to treat anxiety, pain or insomnia. These are generously prescribed and highly addictive. Benzodiazepine addiction of elderly is found to have grown each year.


Senior citizens have a decreased ability to metabolize drugs or alcohol along with an increased brain sensitivity to them. That means that even those senior citizens that aren't addicted are exposing themselves to increased risk if they use drugs or alcohol.


Challenges In Identifying Addiction Of Senior Citizens

Some of the psychological or physical health issues, like dementia, depression or diabetes might actually have similar side effects to substance abuse.

That is why "being old" is often a primary diagnosis for most psychological or physical health issues senior citizens receive at the doctor's.


Signs Of Addiction In Senior Citizens

There is a decline in their mental health, physical health and personal relationships as people get older. 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.

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

  • Memory problems
  • Changes in sleeping practices
  • Undetermined bruises
  • Irritability, sadness, depression
  • Persistent aches or pains
  • Changes in eating traits
  • Preference to solitude
  • Undesirable personal hygiene
  • Getting out of contact with family and friends
  • Losing 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.

People over 65 usually don't have enough support that is needed after treatment, so you need to find a specific program that provides case management services in addition to having experience in dealing with elderly addiction. These case management services will offer the ageing with reach to medical, psychiatric and social resources to grant for a very healthy wellbeing to progress after healing.


Elderly Addiction Statistics

The high rate at which individuals 65 years and older are forming addictions to several substances is surely cause for concern and something that should not be neglected by healthcare professionals, caretakers or family members.