Addiction in the Elderly

It’s not uncommon to develop an addiction later in life, but the health effects of substance abuse for those over the age of 65 can be even more dangerous than those in younger users.

Start the road to recovery

(877) 746-0480

Call Now

Treatment Center Locator

Paid Advertising

Cornerstone Healing Center

Scottsdale, AZ

Multiple Levels of Care

844-931-1105

Wish Recovery

Northridge, CA

Multiple Levels of Care

855-933-2789

The Detox Center

Boca Raton, FL

Full Spectrum of Care

855-914-4757

Northeast Addiction Treatment Center

Quincy, MA

Multiple Levels of Care

855-831-4406

Recovering Champions

Falmouth, MA

Outpatient

855-980-4625

Sierra Tucson

Tucson, AZ

Full Spectrum of Care

855-889-6553

Moonlight Mountain Recovery

Pocatello, ID

Multiple Levels of Care

866-831-4706

Bluff Plantation

Augusta, GA

Inpatient

855-331-2490

Moonlight Mountain Recovery – Nampa

Nampa, ID

Multiple Levels of Care

855-248-2193

MeadowWood Behavioral Health

New Castle, DE

Multiple Levels of Care

855-609-4051

Rebound Behavioral Health Hospital

Lancaster, SC

Multiple Levels of Care

855-336-7623

Riverwoods Behavioral Health System

Riverdale, GA

Multiple Levels of Care

866-246-8017

Atlantic Recovery Center

Davie, FL

Full Spectrum of Care

844-932-3093

White Deer Run

Allenwood, PA

Multiple Levels of Care

877-638-3697

Bedrock Recovery Center

Canton, MA

Multiple Levels of Care

877-401-1084

Oceanside Malibu

Malibu, CA

Full Spectrum of Care

866-275-3956

Southeast Addiction Center

Atlanta, GA

Multiple Levels of Care

855-614-6174

Riverwalk Ranch

Mansfield, TX

Multiple Levels of Care

866-634-7479

Ohio Hospital for Psychiatry

Columbus, OH

Multiple Levels of Care

866-439-6540

Pinnacle Peak Recovery

Scottsdale, AZ

Multiple Levels of Care

844-225-8937

Greenleaf Behavioral Health Hospital

Valdosta, GA

Multiple Levels of Care

866-692-1694

Lakeland Behavioral Health System

Springfield, MO

Multiple Levels of Care

844-404-1846

United Recovery Project

Hollywood, FL

Multiple Levels of Care

877-586-7043

1st Step Behavioral Health

Pompano Beach, FL

Full Spectrum of Care

844-334-8400

New England Recovery & Wellness

Concord, NH

Multiple Levels of Care

844-408-1433

Spring Hill Recovery

Ashby, MA

Full Spectrum of Care

866-380-1395

CNV Detox

Los Angeles, CA

Full Spectrum of Care

877-593-1597

TruVida Recovery

Lake Forest, CA

Full Spectrum of Care

888-717-0038

Boca Recovery Center – Florida

Boca Raton, FL

Full Spectrum of Care

888-608-4977

Bradford Recovery Center

Millerton, PA

Multiple Levels of Care

844-769-9928

Asana Recovery

Costa Mesa, CA

Multiple Levels of Care

877-899-6056

Dana Point Rehab Campus

Dana Point, CA

Multiple Levels of Care

866-944-2609

Park Royal Hospital

Fort Myers, FL

Multiple Levels of Care

844-763-3294

Asheville Recovery Center

Asheville, NC

Multiple Levels of Care

877-542-1138

North Tampa Behavioral Health

Tampa, FL

Multiple Levels of Care

844-870-8069

Boca Recovery Center – New Jersey

Galloway, NJ

Full Spectrum of Care

855-628-9076

Sunflower Wellness Retreat

Osawatomie, KS

Multiple Levels of Care

888-411-9183

Amethyst Recovery

Port St. Lucie, FL

Multiple Levels of Care

888-965-6726

Sober Life San Diego

San Diego, CA

Multiple Levels of Care

866-667-8629

The Poseidon Method

Mykonos, Greece

Full Spectrum of Care

202-370-7462

SOBA New Jersey

New Brunswick, NJ

Multiple Levels of Care

888-341-1174

Senior Citizens and Substance Abuse

Substance abuse among the elderly (adults over the age of 60), particularly of alcohol and prescription drugs, is one of the fastest growing health problems in the United States.

Addiction among people 65 and up is often underestimated and under-diagnosed, which can prevent them from getting the help they need.

Alcohol and prescription drug abuse affects up to 17% of adults over the age of 60 as per the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA). Due to insufficient knowledge, limited research data, and hurried office visits, health care providers often overlook substance abuse among the elderly. This is made worse by the fact taht the elderly often have medical or behavioral disorders that mimic symptoms of substance abuse, such as depression, diabetes, or dementia.

According to the Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services, substance abuse among senior citizens can be classified into two general forms: the “hardy survivor,” or those who have been abusing substances for many years and have reached 65, and the “late onset” group, which is those who form addictions later in life. Regardless of how old you are or when your addiction started, there are treatment options available to help you get back on a healthy path.

Bad Habits
Holding You Back?

Change your lifestyle today

Learn More

Causes of Addiction in the Elderly

There are several things that could contribute to someone turning to substance abuse later in life. These could be health-related issues or life-changing events that take an emotional toll. These events may provoke substance-abusing behavior that can result in a full-scale addiction.

Potential triggers or causes for drug or alcohol addiction in the elderly include:

  • Retirement
  • Death of a family member, spouse, pet or close friend
  • Loss of income or financial strains
  • Relocation or placement in a nursing home
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Family conflict
  • Mental or physical health decline (depression, memory loss, major surgeries, etc.)

The Dangers of Elderly Substance Abuse

Drug or alcohol abuse among the elderly is particularly dangerous because senior citizens are more susceptible to the deteriorating effects of these substances. Individuals over 65 have a decreased ability to metabolize drugs or alcohol along with an increased brain sensitivity to them. This makes it dangerous for seniors to use drugs or alcohol at all, even if the person isn’t addicted.

Benzodiazepines, which are used to treat anxiety, pain or insomnia, are some of the most dangerous prescription drugs for seniors. These are generously prescribed and highly addictive. The rate of senior citizens addicted to benzos has increased every year.

Challenges In Identifying Addiction In The Elderly

Alcohol or drug abuse may actually mimic symptoms of other medical or mental health disorders, such as diabetes, dementia or depression. This makes it easy for doctors who encounter an older patient to chalk up declining mental or physical health simply to “old age.”

Not long ago, a medical colleague referred a 67-year-old woman to me with mild depression, weakness and complaints of short-term memory loss. Her physician told her there was no clear medical explanation for her symptoms, given that her physical exam, exhaustive lab tests and brain M.R.I. were all normal… The problem, I soon discovered, was that her alcohol consumption had tripled since the death of her husband a year earlier. She did disclose to her internist that she drank but minimized the amount. She had turned to alcohol, self-medicating her grief, but it only worsened her mood and impaired her memory, typical of alcohol’s effects on the brain.

- Richard A. Friedman, M.D., NYTimes.com

Ready to get help?

Don’t waste another second. Enter your number to receive a call
from a compassionate treatment expert.

Make a Call (855) 826-4464

- OR -

Request a Call
(877) 746-0480

Symptoms of Addiction in Senior Citizens

As people get older, their mental health, physical health and personal relationships may start to deteriorate. Although addiction may be more difficult to recognize in this demographic, it’s important to pay attention to any unusual signs your elderly loved one displays.

Some signs of elderly drug abuse to look for include:

  • Memory problems
  • Changes in sleeping habits
  • Unexplained bruises
  • Irritability, sadness, depression
  • Unexplained chronic pain
  • Changes in eating habits
  • Wanting to be alone often
  • Failing to bathe or keep clean
  • Losing touch with loved ones
  • Lack of interest in usual activities

Once an addiction is identified, it is critical to seek out a treatment center that has specific experience working with seniors facing addiction.

You should look for programs that specialize in this type of addiction and also offer case management services, as individuals over 65 typically lack the social support required throughout recovery. These case management services will provide the elderly with access to medical, psychiatric and social resources to allow for a healthy lifestyle to continue after treatment.

As per The American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM) consensus panel, the following are recommended as effective treatment approaches for older adults in substance abuse treatment:

  • Cognitive behavioral approaches
  • Group-based approaches
  • Individual counseling
  • Medical/psychiatric approaches
  • Marital and family involvement / family therapy
  • Case Management/Community-linked services and outreach

Elderly Abuse Statistics

17

percent

17 percent of people in the United States over 65 years old have abused prescription medications, according to the Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services.

30

percent

Approximately 30 percent of adults over 65 are given some type of prescription medicine, according to the National Counsil on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence, Inc.

1

drink

According to the National Institute of Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, men and women aged 65 or older should consume no more than 1 drink daily and a maximum of 2 drinks on any occasion.

Don't Let Covid-19 Stop You from Getting Help

Rehabs are still open!

Get Into Treatment Now

The alarming rate at which individuals 65 years and older are developing addictions to various substances is certainly reason for concern and something that should not be ignored by medical professionals, caretakers or family members. If you or someone you know is struggling with addiction issues later in life and need help finding a treatment program, please contact a treatment provider today.

 

Watch Video

Bad habits holding you back?
Change your lifestyle today

Entrepenuer Keir Weimer created a system called the Live Free Lifestyle to give purpose to his life after realizing he had a serious problem with alcohol. A tragic accident that claimed the life of Weimer’s friend and landed Weimer in prison for 3 and a half years was the beginning of Weimer’s motivation to live differently.

Learn More

Treatment professionals are waiting for your call

(855) 826-4464

Take control of your life

Our treatment providers offer 24/7 assistance.

  • Access to top treatment centers
  • Caring, supportive guidance
  • Financial assistance options

Call now:

(855) 826-4464

OR

Have us call you:

(877) 746-0480

Where do calls go?

Calls to numbers on a specific treatment center listing will be routed to that treatment center. Additional calls will also be forwarded and returned by one of our treatment partners below.

A treatment facility paid to have their center promoted here. Learn more about how to be featured in a paid listing.