Drug Treatment is not just for Children, HELP OUR PARENTs

Drug Treatment is not just for Children, HELP OUR PARENTs

It wasn’t their fault, I thought it couldn’t happen to my parents…could they be next? She hurt her hip last year with a fall and we haven’t spoken much since….we call them accidental addicts. Those family members that only needed a relief from the pain of an injury or surgery or a tooth extraction.
 
There continues to be a large “treatment gap”
in this country.
 In 2013, an estimated 22.7 million Americans (8.6
percent) needed treatment for a problem related to drugs or alcohol, but only
about 2.5 million people (0.9 percent) received treatment at a specialty
facility.
Drug use is increasing among people in their fifties and
early sixties.
 This increase is, in part, due to the aging of the baby
boomers, whose rates of illicit drug use have historically been higher than
those of previous generations.

 

The baby boomers are coming!  High rates of lifetime
illegal drug use among the baby boom generation, people born between 1946 and
1964, suggest that the number of older adults using illegal drugs will increase
in the next two decades.  In fact, it has been predicted that by the year
2020, the number of persons needing treatment for a drug abuse and
addiction will double
 among persons aged 50 or older.
  • In
    2008, 4.3 million adults aged 50 or older, or 4.7% of adults in that age
    range, had used an illegal drug in the past year.
  • Between
    2000 and 2008, substance abuse treatment admissions among those aged 50
    and older increased by 70%, while the overall 50-plus population grew by
    only 21%.
FACT:  1 out of every 8 people seeking help
for substance abuse, including illegal drugs, prescription drugs and
over-the-counter drugs (OTC) is over age 50.
Coping with an increase in addiction among older adults is a
challenge that most aging people never thought they would have to face.
Neither did their families.  But, dealing with addiction among older
adults requires our immediate attention.
MYTH:  There is no point in seeking
treatment- it’s too late to change.
FACT:  Good news!  The recovery rate
for older adults in addiction treatment is as good or better than that for
younger people.
MYTH:  Older adults suffering from drug
addiction lack the inner strength to fight and overcome this disease.
REALITY:  Addiction has many possible
causes but lack of inner strength is not one of them.  Causes of addiction
include heredity, stressful events such as the death of a loved one,
retirement, health problems and reactions to medicine.
General Warning Signs of a Drug Problem with Older Adults
Caution:  Some general warning signs of drug
abuse and addiction can be seen as a normal part of the aging process or
attributed to other diseases, resulting in a missed diagnosis of the addiction. 
  • Sleep
    problems, fatigue, memory loss or mood swings
  • Chronic
    health problems, accidents or falls
  • Loss
    of interest in hobbies or other social activities
  • Neglect
    of personal hygiene, appearance or weight loss
  • Unsteady
    gait, unexplained bruises or frequent fall
  • Slurring
    words, defensiveness or increased stress
 
Note:  The following are specific signs of drug
abuse and addiction and less likely to be seen as a normal part of the aging
process or attributed to other diseases.
  • Finding
    illegal drugs or drug paraphernalia
  • Is
    often clearly under the influence of drugs or alcohol
  • Complaining
    about doctors who refuse to write prescriptions for preferred addictive
    drugs
  • Increased
    use of illegal drugs or taking more pills than prescribed because the
    drugs “just aren’t helping anymore”
  • Intentionally
    abusing drugs with the intent to hurt themselves
  • Mixing
    medications or drinking alcohol with medications despite warnings not to
    do so
  • Going
    to multiple doctors -“doctor shopping” -for additional prescriptions of
    addictive drugs
  • Deliberate
    choice to not tell doctor of all prescriptions or illegal drugs they may
    be taking

Mark Gladden is the owner of Present Moments Recovery is a Residential Treatment Center specializing in Recovery Services for the Baby Boomer generation. Our home is located in a single family home on a single family street in North County San Diego.

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