Substance Abuse in Senior Citizens

Substance abuse has turned into a major problem for the elderly. Substance abuse is often considered a tragedy among the younger generations, but little is told of seniors with drug or alcohol addiction. The main problem with seniors dealing with substance abuse is they often have prescribed medications that conflict with the chemicals in recreational drugs, leading to lethal results. In addition, seniors commonly abuse their own prescription drugs, since they are so easily attained for a variety of different ailments. It’s important to understand the consequences of seniors who abuse drugs with their addiction.

How Addiction Commonly Occurs in Senior Citizens

More often than not, seniors develop an addiction for substances from a sense of loneliness, anxiety, and grief. Drugs become the go-to method of coping with these feelings. If left unchecked, this method of coping can do irreprehensible amounts of damage to their body, and can even lead to death. Another way seniors abuse drugs are through prescription medications. They are so easily available to the elderly, but still just as addictive. Over time, this develops into a major issue, because no one thinks twice about a senior’s prescription drugs. This is why it’s so important to get involved in their lives and learn to identify some problem behaviors that point to addiction.

Health Risks for Senior Citizens

As stated above, addiction in senior citizens for substance abuse leads to a higher risk of health problems due to the conflicting nature of prescribed and recreation drugs. In addition, their bodies have a harder time recovering from damage compared to a younger person. Some of the health consequences that could occur as a result of substance abuse are cognitive problems, depression, trouble sleeping, increased risk of heart and brain damage, and the potential for an instant lethal reaction from different medications and recreational drugs.

Signs of Risk for Senior Citizens and Substance Abuse

Some things to look for with substance abuse in senior citizens and adverse health effects are changes in sleep patterns, constant falling, motor control loss, irritability, and states of confusion. Common behaviors to look for if you suspect a loved one of substance abuse would be empty bottles, filling out prescriptions at different pharmacies, and constantly changing doctors. Whether you’re a senior citizen suffering from these symptoms of drug abuse or care about someone displaying these signs, it’s important to seek help from a medical professional regardless of your situation. The health and well-being of someone suffering from addiction come first.

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