Substance Use Disorder Is Rapidly Growing for Senior Citizens

Substance use disorder among the elderly population is a rapidly growing health problem in the United States.

Addiction among people 65 and over is underestimated and under-diagnosed. According to the Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services, substance use among senior citizens are classified either as the “hardy survivor,” or the “late onset” group. The hardy survivor is a senior who has used substances for many years whereas the late-onset users are those who form addictions later in life. Regardless of age or when substance use started, there are treatment options available to help get back on a healthy path.

Causes of elderly addiction

Contributors to substance use later in life are health-related issues or life-changing events that take an emotional toll, provoking substance-using behavior that may result in a full-scale addiction.
Potential substance use triggers in the elderly are:

  • Retirement
  • Death of a family member, spouse, pet or close friend
  • Loss of income or financial strains
  • Relocation or placement in a nursing home
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Family conflict
  • Mental or physical health decline (depression, memory loss, major surgeries, etc.)

The dangers of elderly Substance Use

People 65 years and over are more susceptible to the deteriorating effects of substance use. They have a decreased capacity to metabolize substances and an increased brain sensitivity to them. Substance use often mimics symptoms of other medical or mental health disorders, such as diabetes, dementia or depression and can be hard for medical professionals to recognize it as such and recommend treatment.

If you’re seeking treatment for an elderly family member, our integrated addiction model seeks to treat the whole person and recognizes that addiction affects the entire family. Call Healing Springs Ranch today to start the healing process today.

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