The Elderly and Addiction: Am I Too Old to Stop?

In recent decades, there has been an increase between the elderly and addiction. This can range from older people abusing prescription medication to alcoholism. Both are common among older generations because of the acceptance of alcohol and the prevalence of prescription drugs. However, you should know that it’s never too late to get help. You have a lot of life to live, and seeking addiction treatment will only make it better. Knowing the treatments to obtain sobriety should be at the top of your list. To best recover, you should be familiar with the dangers of drug use and how to protect your mind.  

If you or a loved one struggles with addiction or feels that it is too late to get help, call us at 1-888-906-0952 today. You are never too old to get help, and you will be able to recover properly. Get a personalized program today, and get on the path to recovery.  

It’s Never Too Late to Get Help

Taking that first step into recovery can be intimidating, especially for older people. It might seem like giving up substance use is not worth the effort, but it is.  You deserve to live healthily, no matter your age. One of the best ways to achieve sobriety is to set an arrangement with your family. Here is a list of facts for older people struggling with substance abuse.  

  • The Mortality statistic  More Americans are dying from drug overdose than ever before. Between 2000 and 2014, a half-million Americans died from overdosing on drugs. 
  • Embrace and Enjoy Life  Regaining control over your life is an empowering moment.  Using alcohol and drugs shortens your lifespan. It’s likely that you have missed family events and precious time with them. By taking back control, you can enjoy those things that really make life worth living.  
  • The Future Matters – Drugs and alcohol take control of your life. Your past is the past. By starting recovery, your future can go on for a lot longer. 
  • Treatment is Accessible to All Ages  Treatment has come a long way in recent decades, especially for the elderly and addiction. There is no need to be embarrassed that you want to be better. You will not be looked down on for transforming your life for the better. Treatment is personalized to what you need and often takes the form of a 12-step program or therapy. 
  • Embrace being a Better Person  Your life is far from over. By taking the first step into recovery, you can make a better future for yourself, your family, and those around you.  The opportunity is there for you to reset the wrongs and start again.

There is no reason not to get help – your future is just beginning. Treatment is more accessible than ever and should be taken advantage of. 

Treatment Options for Older Users

Approaching treatment can be an intimidating process. Treatment information can feel overwhelming to take in, and there so many programs to choose from. When finding a rehabilitation center, make sure to choose one that will personalize a program to your needs. It all starts will Diagnosis. Once you know what you need to do, starting treatment is the next step. Many programs use several kinds of treatment options ranging from individual and group therapy to 12-step recovery programs.  

  • Diagnosis – Obtaining the correct diagnosis is harder with the elderly compared to other drug abuse victims. There is a stigma among older people and drug abuse, so identifying the correct diagnosis is critical. Proper diagnosis includes a physical and evaluation of social, neurological, and psychiatric levels. Interestingly, research has found elderly drug users are more likely to give up substance use when their physician encourages them to.  
  • Treatment – Treatment is difficult for many elderlies going through addiction. Personalizing a program can be challenging because many older people do not share enough information with medical professionals. Research has found that intervention with younger family members is a good way to get an older person started in treatment.  
  • Psychoeducation – Getting an older person to talk with their doctor or family can help push them into treatment. Discussing the dangers of late drug use increases the rate of older folks exploring treatment options. This education includes psychotherapy, where an individual or group discusses their situation. This form of therapy is often a good start for most people going through treatment.  

Getting involved with other addiction survivors is important for maintaining sobriety. Staying involved with healthy individuals or groups will help you avoid relapsing. Drug use among older people will not go away as the population of the elderly grows. Getting the most out of life should be the top priority.  Getting proper treatment is the first step.  

If you want help with addiction, you can find it with us. Call today

Dangers of Late Drug Use

The elderly and addiction is a combination that leads to more consequences from when left untreated. Not getting a diagnosis is the leading cause of drug-related deaths amongst the elderly. Research conducted by Future Medicine shows the dangers that need to be watched for are major changes to mental abilities, memory loss, suicidal thoughts, falls, and fractures. One of the biggest challenges that elderly drug users face is how illicit substances interact with their bodies. If not treated, abusing drugs can be just as deadly, if not more so for older generations. Research has shown that consequences might be more severe for older patients, but treatment is also more effective.  

Alcohol is one of the more troubling addictions in older generations, alongside prescriptions. Alcohol, specifically, leads to a neural condition called alcohol-related dementia (ARD). According to research done by Frontiers in NeuroscienceARD is most common in aging brains that continue to consume large amounts of alcohol. If you or someone you love consume alcohol regularly, it is important to know the signs of ARD. Knowing what to look for can help prevent further damage by entering treatment.  

Symptoms for Elderly and Addiction

ARD symptoms include: 

  • Cognition deficit  
  • Damage to work-life 
  • Damage to family and social relationships 

Due to heavy damage done to the brain, certain parts of the brain begin to degenerate and fall apart, causing Marchiafava Bignami disease (MBD). This particular disease is rare, but it can lead to death. Other symptoms that should be watched for include: 

  • Coma
  • Memory and attention impairment  
  • Alteration in personality  
  • Inability to complete certain tasks 

There are a lot of severe outcomes that come with the elderly and addiction. It’s not too late to get help and start treatment. Start seeking out help and get the support you need from family or close friends. Don’t let drugs take your life from you. Finding the right treatment is the start, but you can also do your own work alongside it to maintain a healthy mind.  

Maintaining a Healthy Brain

As far as the elderly and addiction go, alcohol is one of the most common substances abused, so knowing how to lean off it or moderate yourself is important. That term, moderation, is critical when consuming alcohol. Frontiers in Neuroscience found that older patients who consume alcohol regularly, but in small amounts, are likely not to experience any of the damage that comes from overconsumption. This means that low amounts of alcohol regularly will not do as much damage to the brain, but it should still be moderated. 

Recent studies suggest that small amounts of drinking can, in fact, do some good for the brain. Frontiers emphasize that there is no pattern for how alcohol can positively affect brain cognition. They have found that small amounts of red wine can help prevent cognitive decline and dementia. The stipulation here is that there is no consistency in those consuming small amounts of alcohol and this decline in brain damage. However, this is no excuse to begin abusing alcohol because a few have had a good outcome.  

Daily Drinking is Not Recommended

The use of alcohol on a daily basis is more likely to cause more damage than good. Additionally, cardiovascular health is also at risk when consuming large amounts of alcohol. More studies will be done in the future, but scientists recommend that if you are struggling with alcohol or drug addiction, seeking the proper treatment should be your first step. Finding a personalized program to help you achieve sobriety should be the first item on your list to a longer life.  

Start on Your Path to Sobriety Today

There is no reason to avoid going into treatment. Age should not be the reason you don’t get the help you deserve. Addiction is taking a toll on everyone from young to old, and it can be helped. By getting involved with a support group and making a healthy connection, you can find sobriety. Remembering your reasons to get sober will be your incentive to get better. Drug use among older people will never go away, but you can start the trend of healing. Call us today to start your journey. We want to ensure you have plenty of years to enjoy life with family and friends. 

About the Author 

Tristan Kutzer

Tristan Kutzer and his wife recently relocated to Arizona from the state of Wyoming. He studied journalism at the only university in the state, the University of Wyoming. Tristan was involved with the athletics department at the university and is an avid photographer. His enjoyment for writing extends to high school when he realized it was his strong suit and grew that ability through his studies in journalism and working for multiple journalism publications.

Do you know someone who may need help? Call today.