Drug And Alcohol Addiction In Older Adults

If you have seniors in your life, you should be aware of a serious problem: drug addiction. Because seniors often live alone and participate in few activities, you are more likely to miss problems that they have with drugs and alcohol. As a result, you need to be on the lookout for trouble signs. You also need to understand the options available for treatment and recovery.


Drinking alone is a danger signal for all ages, but for seniors, it is a particularly troublesome issue. Because seniors often live alone, they can drink too much without anyone noticing. Seniors who always drink before or after dinner are in danger of having a problem. Older adults may exhibit physical signs of intoxication that are confused with other medical conditions. For instance, memory problems, depression, anger, and slurred speech may well be signs of drug or alcohol abuse but you may attribute them to age-related cognition issues. The same holds true for the self-isolation that addicts frequently practice. You may think physical and mental limitations are keeping seniors from socializing when, in fact, it is an addiction problem. 

Age Factors

If you notice these troubling signs, you need to investigate possible drug and alcohol abuse. Never believe that your loved one is too old to change because the elderly actually have a higher rate of recovery than other age groups. However, the elderly are particularly susceptible to addiction because their tolerance to alcohol and drugs decreases as they age. In addition, they have more medical conditions that require medication. Too many medications can be a problem on their own. When seniors add alcohol to the mix, the slide into addiction can be devastatingly quick. 


Because seniors tend to take so much prescription medication, finding a treatment facility that specializes in the elderly can be essential to their recovery. The best facilities will offer case management specialists, experts who will coordinate all aspects of the addict's care during and after the program. This step is essential because many seniors simply are unable to manage all of the details of daily living along with conquering their addiction. Also, a senior-centered program will present information in a way that seniors can best absorb. 

If you have a senior in your life, be sensitive to possible alcohol and drug problems. Because seniors are frequently medicated by their doctors and spend significant time alone, they can easily fall into the trap of addiction. For more information about dealing with this kind of issue, look into drug rehabs in your area.