Substance abuse can affect people of all ages. In fact, alcohol and prescription drug abuse among the aging population is currently one of the fastest-growing health issues in the nation. As such, there are plenty of options in treatment for those who are past the retirement age and who want to regain control of their lives. Much like treatment in your 20s, 30s, and 40s, drug treatment after retirement can have a tremendous impact on your overall life quality. By taking advantage of the resources, services, and support offered at a PA alcohol and drug rehab center, retirees can protect their finances, improve their health, and start the process of building and restoring personal relationships. Best of all, drug treatment for people in their 50s and beyond often takes a very needs-specific and individualized approach to promote long-term sobriety and all-around wellness.
If you’re currently dealing with addiction after retirement, you’re probably noticing that drug and alcohol abuse takes a far greater toll on your mind and body now that you’re getting older. In fact, unhealthy habits of any type during this phase of life can set the stage for many chronic and possibly degenerative conditions. Among senior citizens, substance abusers can often be classified in one of two ways: as “hardy survivors” and “late-onset users”. No matter when or why you started using drugs or alcohol in a way that diminishes your health, shortens your life span, and lessens your overall life quality, taking part in drug rehabilitation will give you the coping skills and other tools that you need for getting sober and staying that way.
The Causes And Dangers Of Addiction In The Elderly
There’s a good reason why elderly people are at such a high risk of developing problems with addiction. Many aging adults deal with chronic anxiety and depression while facing the challenges and changes associated with post-retirement life. Financial worries, boredom, and the grief of watching close friends and relatives pass away are all things that can cause retirees to seek solace with drugs or alcohol. Other causes of addiction among this demographic include:
- The age-related decline of physical or mental health
- Recurring pain caused by chronic or degenerative conditions
- Living in isolation
- Having to move into a nursing home
- Mismanagement of prescription medications
Given that many aging adults are heavily reliant upon prescription drugs for managing their chronic health troubles, addictive behaviors can be especially dangerous for this population. Whether treating Parkinson’s tremors, hypertension, diabetes, or arthritis, certain combinations of prescription medications, over-the-counter medications, alcohol, and illicit drugs can be downright deadly. This makes it critical for retirees to obtain professional treatment as soon as substance abuse is suspected.
Signs Of Elderly Substance Abuse
It may be that you’re the family caregiver for a retiree who’s currently exhibiting the signs of drug or alcohol addiction. Given that the symptoms of drug and alcohol abuse can mimic a variety of age-related behaviors and developments, it is important to know exactly what these symptoms are. You might have cause for concern if your loved one is:
- Experiencing significant changes in his or her sleep habits
- Developing memory problems
- Constantly dealing with depression, sadness, or irritability
- Showing signs of unexplained bruising or chronic pain
- Fluctuating in weight
- Failing to shower or bathe, or perform other forms of general self-care
Keep in mind that many of these symptoms can also be indicative of other forms of age-related illness. This makes it important for caregivers to ensure that retirees are always receiving preventative health care and routine check-ups. As with chronic and degenerative, age-related diseases, substance abuse is often easiest to address when it is caught and treated early on. For seniors, the longer that they use drugs or alcohol; the more serious damages that their bodies are likely to sustain. It’s also important to note that many age-related illnesses such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s can co-exist with addiction. In fact, people who struggle with untreated physical and mental health disorders often develop addiction problems in their efforts to self-medicate problems that they don’t fully understand.
If you or your aging loved one is struggling with addiction, we can help. PA alcohol and drug rehab centers offer therapy, treatment, and general addiction services to everyone. People can struggle with drug and alcohol dependency throughout all stages of life. Seeking qualified help is always the best way to protect the health and life qualities of aging individuals. Call our office now at 888-380-0342 to learn more about our options in recovery for those in their golden years.