“An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.”-Benjamin Franklin
Drug abuse is often associated with our younger generations, but it can also be very prevalent among the elderly. It is among the fastest growing health problems facing our country, yet it is labeled an invisible epidemic. This is, in part, because we tend to overlook the misuse of prescription drugs and alcohol in the older population.
When people self-medicate, we often see:
- Higher instances of loneliness
- Lower quality of life and;
- Compounded health problems.
What’s more, it can be really challenging to approach and treat substance abuse in our older population, because of social and generational dynamics.
The need for senior addiction rehab is likely to rise in the next decade, but creating awareness of the signs can help. Keep in mind that age can complicate our perception of a person’s characteristics or symptoms such that it may be hard to determine if what we are seeing is an illness or substance abuse (which really, is also an illness).
However, the sudden onset of the following symptoms could indicate substance abuse and should not be ignored—no matter what the cause:
- Memory lapses
- Unsteady gait
- Changes in appetite
- Increased isolation
- Poor hygiene
- Shaky hands
- Mood swings
- Chronic boredom
If at any time, these symptoms arise in an elderly person in your life and they cannot be tied to a physical illness, look more deeply, to determine if an addiction is the culprit. Keep in mind that there are several factors that lead to substance abuse and some of them surely arise more frequently, due to the environment in Alaska. Consider these factors that can contribute:
- Living alone
- A family history of substance abuse
- Mental health issues
- Previous substance abuse
- Chronic pain
If there is a question about whether your loved one is suffering from substance abuse or if you are sure, the best way to help is by finding a top-notch senior addiction treatment center. A well-established and proven program is critical to success in overcoming substance abuse.
Look for a program that:
- Has experience working with the elderly population and can address specific complications that can occur, during treatment.
- Assists senior patients in building their social network and helps them to establish a community of reliable people to turn to in times of need.
If you or someone you know are faced with this problem, click here to locate the best treatment program. Anchorage has a handful of amazing addiction recovery centers to choose from and there are even more in the surrounding cities.