Changes in physical and mental conditions impact senior citizens and how they experience addictive behaviors and their effects. Addiction is increasing among senior citizens. Call 833.551.2304 to speak with someone from Gulf Breeze Recovery’s caring and compassionate team about senior citizens and addiction and how our addiction treatment program can help your older loved one. Addiction in seniors should never be ignored or neglected, as senior citizens can benefit from effective treatment.
What to Know About Addiction and Senior Citizens
Statistically, people are living longer and healthier lives. Changes, both physical and mental—along with how medications, alcohol, and other substances are processed in the body—do occur with aging.
Illicit Drug Abuse and Seniors
Illegal drug use, usually considered something that younger adults do, is increasing in adults over 50. For some, the use of illicit substances is a continuation of when they first started “experimenting” or using in the 1960s or 70s when the substances were easily accessible. Marijuana, popular during those years and since, is the most commonly used illicit drug in the United States. It is becoming legalized and easier to access in more states, so it remains popular with the older crowd.
Stimulants are sometimes prescribed for conditions such as attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) or narcolepsy in older adults. Older adults use street drugs such as cocaine and methamphetamines for increased energy and feelings of pleasure and euphoria.
Effects of drugs on an older person will have effects like those of alcohol, with slower response time and increased time to overcome the effects of the drugs. It can also take much less substance to increase the risk of a drug overdose in older adults.
Prescription Medication Abuse and Seniors
The most commonly abused prescription drugs by seniors include:
- Opioids – Often prescribed to senior citizens for chronic pain, such as OxyContin or Vicodin
- Benzodiazepines – Used to treat anxiety and insomnia, like Xanax or Valium
- Stimulants – Prescribed for conditions such as ADHD, such as Ritalin or Adderall
Prescription drug abuse occurs among senior citizens also. Health issues and addiction can occur when a prescription is not used as prescribed. Prescription drugs that produce feelings of relaxation and euphoria are more likely to be abused than those that do not evoke feelings of intoxication.
Alcohol Abuse and Seniors
Alcohol use is common among senior citizens. As with younger adults, senior citizens can become dependent on alcohol. Senior citizens are more likely to experience adverse effects from drinking due to physical changes that may have occurred over time as they age. Some of these physical changes include:
- Slower metabolism, which means alcohol stays in the body for a more extended period
- Decreased production of stomach acid and enzymes
- Reduced kidney function, resulting in less water to dilute alcohol
- Lower blood pressure than younger adults, leading to greater sensitivity to the effects of alcohol
Combining alcohol and drugs, either prescribed or illegal, can increase the danger of harmful effects. Physiological changes associated with aging alter how the body absorbs, metabolizes, and excretes drugs, often slowing the process and resulting in the effects being maintained for a longer time.
How to Help an Older Loved One Struggling with Addiction
Sometimes it is challenging to confront a parent or older family member when substance abuse is suspected. Substance abuse treatment is available for older adults—recovery is possible and can result in longer and healthier lives. Interventions that offer support and understanding can help people overcome their addiction and maintain recovery.
Gulf Breeze Recovery offers treatment options that recognize the specialized care necessary for older adults. Options are available for residential care as well as intensive outpatient programs. The professional staff at Gulf Breeze Recovery can help identify the care that will best fit the needs of the individual. Incorporating a holistic treatment program, Gulf Breeze Recovery focuses on our guests’ physical and emotional needs. Professional medical and clinical staff strive to give every individual the best care and opportunity for long-term sobriety.
Find Addiction Treatment for Seniors in Florida at Gulf Breeze Recovery
If you or someone you care about has an ongoing history of alcohol or substance use or relapse, contact Gulf Breeze Recovery today at 833.551.2304 to speak with one of our addiction treatment specialists and learn more about our residential program, outpatient program, and intensive outpatient program—and which of these can best fit your individual needs. These programs have helped many people overcome addiction and embrace a new happy, healthy, substance-free lifestyle. We help people not just to survive but to thrive!