Elderly Addicts: Substance Abuse Among Seniors Growing

Abuse of prescription drugs among the senior population is one of the fastest -growing health concerns in the US. Older adults also have been found to suffer from alcoholism at rapidly increasing rates.

Yet despite the rapidity with which the number of senior men and women suffering from these disorders climbs, the issue remains overlooked by the vast majority of addiction specialists and healthcare providers. It is now known that upward of 17 percent of the senior population suffers from alcoholism of drug addiction – though the issue still goes widely undertreated.

This is partially due to the fact that other psychological disorders, such as dementia and depression, are common among older adults. However, the most common reason that elderly addiction goes untreated is simply because the men and women of this particular generation are ashamed to seek professional treatment for what they consider to be a highly private matter.

Elderly Addicts: Does Age Play Role in Seeking Treatment?

Ageism also plays a huge role in the fact that very few elderly men and women receive the help they need for substance abuse disorders.  In reality, however, substance abuse takes a far greater mental and physical toll on the elderly than it does the younger portion of the population. And because life expectancy rates continue to steadily climb, the issue will soon be flagrant and not so easily hidden or disregarded.

Senior Substance Abuse Must Be Addressed

While alcohol abuse is the most prevalent issue among elderly addicts, benzodiazepine abuse is quickly catching up. Somewhere around 20 percent of the elderly population is prescribed benzodiazepines, and many drug-induced cases of delirium or mental disarray are wrongly labeled Alzheimer’s or dementia, and en and women are placed in nursing homes based on the diagnosis of mentally deteriorating disorders they do not, in actuality, suffer from.

This invisible epidemic is growing in severity on a daily basis, and soon it will be impossible to ignore. If you have an senior family member that has begun to act strangely but has not shown the signs and symptoms of dementia, the likelihood that he or she is suffering from substance dependency is high – and if so, he or she deserves to be professionally treated just as much as anyone.

Have a Loved One Who Needs Help? Call Us

Substance abuse among seniors can be addressed through treatment.  Call our 24-hour helpline at 1-855-619-8070 and one of our agents will gladly walk you through treatment options and recovery.

Staff Writer :