While efforts to curb prevalent abuse of drugs and alcohol overwhelmingly focuses on the youth, it’s worth noting that even the seniors do suffer at surprisingly similar rates. Currently, the last baby boomers are approaching their 60’s with a significant number struggling with an addiction crisis. This translates to the growing demand for addiction treatment for seniors.
Baby boomers, who make up for a significant part of the senior’s population, constitute a major part of patients spending on prescription drugs. Due to their high exposure to prescription drugs, most fall into accidental misuse of drugs and consequent addiction. Seniors are also likely to suffer from progressive memory loss and cognitive decline that increases their chances of abusing prescription drugs accidentally. So now that we have identified that drug dependency among seniors is a problem, what are the solutions available? Are there any drug rehab facilities that cater to seniors’ needs?
Effects of drug abuse on the elderly
Some seniors begin taking drugs during their older ages, while others have been persistent drug users since their younger days. Nonetheless, one thing both lots share is the reduced tolerance to the effects of the drugs. We all know that the elderly population tends to get affected the most with chronic conditions such as diabetes, cognitive impairment, and high blood pressure. These health conditions can amplify the adverse effects of drug dependency.
Also, when they mix medication for health purposes with these harmful drugs, it could further lead to the deterioration of their health status. The seniors are in danger of succumbing to drug abuse and overdose as much as any other age group. For this reason, some drug rehabs formulate treatment procedures that specialize in treating seniors struggling with drug addiction.
What is substance abuse treatment for seniors like?
Addiction treatment for senior adults is somewhat similar to that of younger people. According to trials and research, most treatments for drug addiction are equally effective for all age groups. However, rehab facilities that specialize in treating senior adults aren’t in enormous numbers as its demand has been small, although picking over recent years.
The fact that baby boomers find a hard time accepting that they need help for their addiction makes it hard to admit them into rehab facilities. Also, addiction among senior adults is often mistaken for mental and medical health disorders such as depression and dementia. Once a doctor carries necessary tests and confirms that an older adult is indeed addicted to drugs, he or she will be referred to a specialized rehab program for the elderly.
Treatment options for older adults
- Addiction support groups- these are groups that assemble senior adults with drug problems to help derive motivation and strength from each other.
- Therapeutic intervention- therapy is an essential aspect of addiction treatment. It’s not an exception for the elderly struggling with substance dependency. These sessions aid them in uncovering the underlying triggers, solving other mental disorders, and providing guidance on the after-treatment life
- Detoxification- as earlier stated, senior adults have rather delicate body systems with a slow metabolism. Special attention is required to ensure that the individuals pass through the detox phase successfully. While most of the battle with chronic conditions, the detox phase might take a longer time for the seniors. This phase must be managed by health specialists who specialize in providing care for the elderly.
- Dual diagnosis- it may be recommended for patients who show symptoms of mental disorders such as amnesia and depression. Dual diagnosis targets treatment of both drug dependency and mental instability simultaneously. Most elderly drug rehabs have specialists in dual diagnosis.
- Aftercare programs- quality aftercare is essential for any patient recovering from drug dependency problems. Senior adults are at a higher risk of relapse, particularly those who live alone. Drug rehabs for the elderly ensure that they provide quality or extended aftercare programs to keep tabs of their progress and provide extra attention.
Normally, the drug rehabs for the elderly create personalized treatment plans for each of their patients due to their delicate states and other tagged health conditions. If you are looking to help out a senior adult with their addiction, a drug rehab facility that specializes in providing treatment services for the elderly would be your best bet.
If you believe that your loved one may be developing a drug dependency problem, please contact us today at 888-380-0667. It’s never too late to get the help you need.