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
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.