The Elderly Are at Just as Much Risk as Younger Generations When it Comes to Alcohol and Drug Abuse

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Recent numbers from the Center for Disease Control are telling us that one in ten deaths among working-age adults is related to alcohol, alcoholism and alcohol abuse. This statistic alone is shocking enough, but these figures only account for adults within the age of 20-64. Adults over 65 are still at risk, and it is being shown that alcohol abuse in seniors is a very serious problem that requires immediate attention and assessment. It may come as a surprise to the rest of us that many seniors struggle with an addiction to alcohol. Similar to the working-age figures, ten percent of adults 65 and over are binge drinkers or heavy drinkers. Part of the problem, experts say, is that many seniors are living alone and have no one to look out for them and help control their drinking, therefore leading to the problem never being detected.

“The fact that this demographic is made up of people who are often retired and living alone, or at least living without kids, is important. A lot of these seniors are people who may have experimented with drugs in the 60s and 70s—and now that they have more free time and fewer family and work obligations, they are experimenting with drugs and alcohol all over again. As this report makes plain, the results can be disastrous.”

In another area of abused substances, seniors also seem to be keeping with the ties. We know that many teens, young adults and working-age adults alike abuse prescription medications. It would seem that a large portion of seniors are no different. Many of them abuse painkillers, sedatives, sleeping medications and tranquillizers. The sad part is that many seniors do legitimately require these medications, but if they are living at home without any kind of support or supervision they may be unable to understand how to properly use their medications, and may overdose because they feel their dosage isn’t enough to treat their symptoms or because no one has explained to them the very real dangers of misusing certain types of substance or combining prescription medication with alcohol or other drugs.

It would seem that addiction can strike at pretty much every age group, and that it doesn’t discriminate. If young people can fall victim to this vicious disease then there is no reason why senior citizens can’t stumble down that road. Many people abuse drugs to escape the realities of their complicated and unsatisfying lives, and if you consider what a lot of older people go through it isn’t that surprising that they will compensate by using and abusing drugs and alcohol. Maybe it’s because they are cut off from their kids or grandchildren, or maybe they simply don’t leave the house anymore or are stuck in a retirement home that they don’t care for, and it could be that they are suffering from a wide variety of medical issues, but the fact is is that older people have just as many reasons to get caught up in the world of drugs and alcohol as younger people do. And if we take that to be true, they deserve as much treatment help and compassion as any other person who is struggling with drug and alcohol abuse. Just because they may be our grandparents doesn’t mean they should be forgotten nor should we allow them to fall through the cracks.

 

VIA:ABNEWSWIRE

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Sobriety Foundation

The Elderly Are at Just as Much Risk as Younger Generations When it Comes to Alcohol and Drug Abuse

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