Prescription drug addiction is a problem among the senior population.
Prescription drug abuse is a growing concern across all walks of life and among every age group. The consequences for seniors, however, can be far more devastating due to their health and vulnerability. As these individuals get older, they are more likely to be exposed to prescription medications and like other prescription drug users, succumb to tolerance, dependency and ultimately, addiction.
About Prescription Drug Abuse
Despite controversy, many people abuse prescription drugs due to developmental changes within their brains and not because they lack willpower or ability to control their behaviors. They may increase the dose, or take the drugs more frequently to relieve unpleasant or unwanted symptoms and these repeat changes are what lead to compulsive behaviors to use more. Dependency results in withdrawal symptoms that range in severity and often are the compelling factor causing many to continue the abuse.
Prescription Drug Abuse in Seniors
According to a published study by the National Institutes of Health, “it is estimated that the number of adults of this age in need of substance abuse treatment will increase from 1.7 million in 2000 and 2001 to 4.4 million in 2020”. Seniors who are exposed to prescription drugs may be likely to misuse or abuse them because:
They are susceptible to more episodes of pain and the emotional stress that comes with it.
They are often prescribed an assortment of drugs for various purposes.
Seniors are more vulnerable to physical and psychological effects from the drugs, due to cognitive decline or other physical impairments that affect their ability to metabolize the drugs.
Memory impairments may lead them to use more than intended.
Other drugs they are prescribed may cause reactions for which they try to overcompensate for.
Their lack of experience and judgment regarding the side effects of prescription drugs makes them vulnerable to their use and abuse and safety becomes a grave concern.
They may live on a fixed income and share their medications in order to save money.
Recognizing Prescription Drug Abuse in Seniors
Like other prescription drug abusers, seniors present various signs when abusing prescriptions drugs such as:
Intentionally using prescription drugs frequently or in greater amounts than prescribed.
Tolerance – using increasingly higher amounts to achieve a desired effect.
Using someone else’s prescription drugs or using them recreationally.
Using prescription drugs in alternative ways such as snorting or injecting.
Physical deteriorations, impairments, or adverse changes including weight loss, impaired cognitive or motor functioning, lack of hygiene, neglect of health, excessive sleeping, or insomnia.
Loss of interest or pleasure in activities once important or fun to them.
Increased anxiety or obsession over their next dose.
Increased mental health issues such as depression, anxiety, irritability, agitation, inability to order thoughts or focus, excessive memory loss, hyperactivity, violent outbursts and other aggressive, irrational, or uncontrollable behaviors.
While increasing rates of substance abuse continue to warrant cause for concern, the increasing rate of alcohol abuse among older adults is one of the fastest growing health problems in the United States. Alcohol abuse carries a range of health risks, both physical and psychological. These risks increase substantially for adults aged 60 and older…..
It can be difficult to realize the need for alcohol rehab, especially if you are the one who is addicted. Alcohol rehab centers provide treatment for alcohol addiction that will help an individual to overcome the urges, physical dependence and psychological dependence that an individual suffers from. If you or someone you know is drinking….
Drug rehab focuses on changing behavior patterns and improving problem solving skills so that the addict can come out of drug treatment with new tools to help them overcome stressful situations without the use of drugs or alcohol. In the long term, the changed behaviors and changed way of thinking can help an addict remain….
According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, the therapeutic community is the “best-known residential treatment model,” although many individuals do not actually realize what it entails or know how long treatment even lasts. Treatment Lengths for the Therapeutic Community Model “Planned lengths of stay [for therapeutic community patients last] between 6 and 12 months.”….
Anyone who’s lived through a natural disaster, the death of a loved one or a violent attack well knows the degree of emotional turmoil that comes from these types of events. While some people eventually get over difficult life events, others may become emotionally stuck inside the trauma-inciting incident. When this is the case, post-traumatic….
Many people who go into rehab for addiction are often concerned about their privacy. Will your information be shared with whomsoever desires it? The answer is no. Private rehab facilities are very careful when it comes to handling a person’s recovery with confidentiality. Often these facilities can be expensive, but for many people undergoing treatment, the….
A therapeutic community (TC) is a type of treatment program that many residential rehab centers use to help recovering addicts learn better behaviors associated with drug use, socialization and combatting negative perceptions and attitudes held by those individuals. This type of treatment program can be confrontational and is usually very structured, but it is often….
Financing a drug addiction has left more than a few addicts unable to pay for needed drug treatment help. Add to this the high likelihood of job loss before all is said and done and free rehab facilities can quickly become the only treatment alternative a person has. As drug addiction rates continue to climb,….
Opiate drugs do a good job at relieving most all types of pain, be it from an injury or from chronic conditions like cancer. Drugs, such as codeine, Demerol and Dilaudid offer effective pain relief properties unlike any other types of medication. Unfortunately, these drugs carry the same addictive potential as heroin, another opiate drug…..
What’s the biggest challenge you will face in recovery? If you said anything besides “YOU” then you are wrong! That’s right, your worst enemy in recovery, the one that is likely sabotaging your rehabilitation and making things worse is YOU. It’s not your friends, it’s not a poor home life or a dysfunctional family that….