While younger people who use drugs often become abusive and lash out at the people around them, older users may be more subtle about their habits. They may maintain heavy drinking habits without catching the attention of their spouses or adult children. They also may easily abuse prescription drugs for pain, memory loss, and other problems which often afflict the elderly. These addictive behavior patterns can be hard to detect, but they are just as harmful to users and their loved ones as the abuse of crack, meth, and other “hard” drugs.
There is a saying that “misery loves company,” and younger addicts tend to use drugs in the company of other users. However, people over fifty are known to isolate themselves as they struggle with addiction. They may not care for the rambunctiousness they perceive to be common among younger users, or they may simply want to hide their habits from loved ones. In either case, this seclusion can make it difficult to recognize when older people need drug addiction treatment.
Reluctance to Seek Treatment
Addicts of all ages can be reluctant to attend rehab, but seniors are known to be especially stubborn. Older alcoholics may be reluctant to think of their decades-old drinking habits as actual addictions, and those addicted to prescription drugs may not realize the severity of their problems. People over fifty may also fear rejection from their often-limited social circles if they out themselves as addicts by seeking treatment. Younger generations may be starting to understand that addiction is a neurological disease, but many older people cling to the idea that it is simply a contemptible lack of willpower.
Specialized Detox MethodsDetox is the one- to two-week process of deprivation that helps people rid themselves of their physical dependency on drugs and alcohol. It always involves painful withdrawal symptoms, but the physical effects of detoxification can be too much for elderly people to handle on their own. Symptoms such as chronic pain, seizures, and even heart problems can cause seniors to experience further medical complications – or to simply quit rehab before their long-term treatments have even begun. The medications, biofeedback therapies, and other resources offered at drug addiction treatment centers are crucial for people over fifty to successfully detox.
Physical stress can compel people to use drugs just as much as emotional stress. Elderly people often experience chronic physical pain which drives them to abuse alcohol, prescription drugs, marijuana, and even illegal narcotics. This pain can be the cause of initial drug use as well as relapse. Seniors may also have difficulties recognizing the physical warning signs of drug cravings – recognitions which are essential for staying sober after rehab.
If you or an elderly loved one is struggling with drugs or alcohol, call the number at the top of your screen for a toll-free consultation with one of our dedicated addiction specialists. No matter how severe your addiction is, drug addiction treatment at our professional rehabilitation facility can help you take back control of your life.