Although drug abuse is often associated with younger people, it can also be prevalent among elderly populations. According to Johns Hopkins, drug abuse among senior citizens is not only substantial, but also increasing. Because of this, finding the best elderly recovery program is imperative.
Identifying Drug Abuse in Older Adults
Due to the fact that many senior adults take prescription drug medications for various ailments, it can sometimes be difficult to identify the signs and symptoms of substance abuse in elderly adults. Johns Hopkins reports that symptoms of substance of abuse in senior adults may include the following:
- Memory lapses.
- Unsteady gait.
- Changes in appetite.
- Increased isolation.
- Poor hygiene.
Older people may be more at risk for substance abuse because they frequently suffer from one or more chronic illnesses. Due to this, many take both over-the-counter medications and prescription medications. Often, these medications do not mix well together, thus posing serious health risks.
For some senior adults, the abuse of drugs and alcohol is actually a continuation of patterns that developed years earlier. Substance abuse may develop as a form of trying to cope with the stress that can accompany the aging process. Unfortunately, substance abuse tends to worsen preexisting problems and create new ones.
Older individuals often have additional changes and stresses in regards to the way their bodies function that can increase the chances for substance abuse developing. The following risk factors can increase an older person's chance for developing substance abuse:
- Living alone.
- Family history of substance abuse.
- Mental health issues .
- Earlier substance abuse.
- Chronic pain.
Finding the Best Senior Addiction Program
Finding the best possible senior addiction treatment center is a critical key to success in helping your loved one overcome substance abuse. Although there are many addiction recovery programs available around the country, it is important to seek out a program with specific experience in working with senior adults facing addiction challenges.
Furthermore, it is important for the program to feature the ability to assist senior patients in building a more extensive social network. Many times, as individuals grow older and face retirement and/or the death of a significant other, isolated living can lead to an increased likelihood of becoming reliant on drugs or prescription medications. A reliable social network can help to prevent such problems from occurring.
A quality senior drug treatment center should be comprised of age-specific treatment programs that will allow senior patients to assimilate the necessary information at a speed that is comfortable for them. The program should also feature content that focuses on the development of coping strategies that allow patients to handle loss, depression, loneliness, and grief. These are all emotional elements commonly experienced by senior adults that can sometimes lead to or aggravate dependency issues.
All medical staff at the elderly drug or alcohol recovery facility should be trained not only in addiction medicine, but should also have expertise in the psychiatric and medical needs of the senior population. Older individuals often experience nutritional deficiencies that are only compounded by substance abuse. Due to this fact, you may find it beneficial to seek out elderly recovery facilities with a licensed nutritionist on staff who can work one on one with senior patients to help them devise a diet that meets their specific nutritional needs.
It is also quite important for the elderly recovery program to be comprised of a non-confrontational approach for both the patient and family members. It is important to look for a program for seniors that includes an inpatient detox with nursing and medical services available around the clock. By seeking an individualized approach to senior drug addiction, it is possible to achieve recovery. No matter your age, you can overcome substance abuse with the right support and resources .
The Importance of Aftercare Programs
The importance of aftercare for any patient recovering from drug addiction cannot be stressed strongly enough. This is particularly true when it comes to senior adults who may live alone and be at a higher risk for relapse . With the appropriate aftercare or extended treatment programs in place, senior patients will have the tools and resources they need to maintain their recovery. The right elderly recovery center can help you live a richer and fuller life free from addiction.