Forgotten Addicts; The Elderly
According to a recent survey 21.5 million people aged 12 and older battled a substance use disorder in 2014. I am pretty certain unfortunately that this number is now higher. Of that number 80% suffered from alcohol abuse as well.
With this number being so high it means that in 2014 1 in 8 people that we came into contact with was suffering from some sort of substance abuse disorder. It could be anyone that you know and more than likely with statistics being that high you do know one or more person with a substance abuse disorder.
There is a light at the end of this deep dark tunnel though and that light is through The Recovery Village Washington. Seeking help for a substance abuse disorder is a very hard decision to make. Often people are unaware that seeking treatment can be so easy, but sometimes they know and just don’t know how to make the first step.
Many families are struggling not just with younger generations having substance abuse disorders, but the elderly community as well. 2.5 million seniors struggle with either a drug or alcohol abuse problem and this grows daily. I know that you may be thinking that this sounds uncommon, but it is actually more common than any of us are aware of. The elderly population has a tendency to self-medicate because they come from a generation that was not as used to doctors as we are today. They often suffer from a higher amount of pain and cognitive decline causing them to not remember taking medications and taking them again.
The Recovery Village Washington provides great help for the elderly population and is able to support the elderly and also the families with a treatment program suitable for the 65 and older community. Many people are not aware that their family member is even drinking and I have learned some signs to look for:
1- Frequent Falls
2- Outbursts of anger
3- Poor self care
4- Uncharacteristic behavior changes
There are also signs for prescription drug abuse in the elderly:
1- Hiding medication
2- Making excuses for needing more medication
3- Having a supply of “Extra” pills in a purse or somewhere that medication would not usually be kept
4- Appearing confused or forgetful
If you think that someone in your family is addicted to drugs and alcohol, especially an elderly member then please seek help. Often doctors do not want to see these changes in behavior or want to attribute them to old age. If you suspect there is something else going on, then reach out for help from other resources.