Substance abuse and addiction is not just a concern for the young. A lot of literature and programs are aimed at teenagers and young adults, but the senior population can be just as much at risk of drug addiction and alcohol abuse. When it comes to alcohol or drug rehab and aftercare, seniors may need a slightly different approach.
Drug Rehab Programs for Teens and Young Adults
The treatments for teens and young adults differs from senior’s treatment in a variety of ways. Both groups need help with addiction and withdrawal, but many young people do not see the need for treatment and may require families to perform an intervention. Younger people may also require additional help with education, mental health conditions, such as dual diagnosis, or a troubled family life.
Substance Abuse in the Senior Population
Health care practitioners often overlook addiction problems in our elderly population because of a lack of knowledge, and the tendency for symptoms of substance abuse to mimic symptoms of other mental or physical disorders.
Older people may feel deep shame about their drug or alcohol addiction and may be reluctant to get the professional help they need. If his or her adult children also feel the shame, a culture of silence can descend, and nobody receives the support needed.
Rehab can be subtly different for the elderly because addictive behaviors in younger people are seen by some as a more urgent problem that is easier to fix. Some see addictive behaviors in the elderly as a lost cause or a waste of resources, but all addictions can be treated with a tailored plan, regardless of age.
Drivers of Abuse Behaviors in Seniors
Understanding the motivation for the elderly to use and abuse drugs or alcohol is key to designing the right rehab program. Seniors are more likely to abuse alcohol and use prescription meds more than hard illegal drugs as they are not so interested in the high or rush.
Seniors are usually driven by a need to mask physical or psychological symptoms, and they commonly use sleeping pills, alcohol and opiates to do so. Due to the different reasons for drug and alcohol abuse that seniors have, it can be beneficial to separate treatment programs for their age group. When you recover alongside people that have experienced similar life-changing events, it can be easier to relate to them and therapy may be more effective.
The Dangers of Substance Abuse for Seniors and the Rehab Needed
Medical detox in our senior population must be monitored carefully as seniors tend to take many different meds. A good rehab center is always vigilant in double-checking all meds taken because a bad drug interaction can be extremely harmful. It is also important to understand which drug is doing what job, for example, memory loss is not always the first sign of Alzheimer’s disease, misuse of medications or drug interactions can also trigger memory loss.
Relapse can be particularly dangerous for the elderly, and the risk of a fatal overdose is high during a relapse. Lifelong abuse can lead to a very high tolerance. During detox, toxins are removed from the body, and a reset of brain and body chemicals takes place. The reset lowers the tolerance in an individual and if they return to abusing drugs or alcohol, in the same way, an overdose can occur. Call us today at 866-349-1770 for confidential help. You are never too old to break the chains of addiction.