The Senior Substance Abuse Struggle

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drug abuse

Substance abuse is usually associated with young people. Often, young people in their teenage years go against their parents’ wishes and experiment with substances, including either drugs or alcohol. Often, the child needs the services of a non 12 step drug rehab or an alcohol rehab. The untold story, however, is the substance abuse that takes place with our seniors today. The Community Prevention Initiative noted in 2008 that those aged 65 or older represent one-third of the total prescribed medications. What is shocking is that seniors in the United States were only 13 percent of the population back then.

Seniors end up with problems with substance abuse for a very simple reason. The National Institute on Drug Abuse notes that seniors take more long-term prescriptions and often times multiple ones than younger people. As seniors experience cognitive decline, they might begin to misuse their medications. There are higher rates, too, of seniors having comorbid illnesses, or when they have two chronic diseases or medical conditions at the same time.

The projections for senior substance abuse are staggering: the Journal of General Internal Medicine found in August 2010 that more than one-third of drinkers 60 years or older drink amounts of alcohol that can cause health problems. This can occur because of a medication they are taking or some disease they are battling. They might require assistance in defeating substance abuse at a non 12 step drug rehab.

The Johns Hopkins Medical School notes that American senior drug abuse will grow to 2.7 million in 2020. This represents a 190 percent increase from the number of 910,000 the school previously noted in 2001. The statistic might represent the growing reliance of seniors on drugs for their medical conditions or the diseases they fight each day. With increased drug use may come the need for a non 12 step drug rehab for the senior population out there.

Seniors might be surprised that they could actually be diagnosed with a substance abuse disorder. However, there is help available out there in various treatment programs and rehab centers which can help seniors with these difficulties such as a non 12 step drug rehab. With six to eleven percent of elderly hospital admissions resulting from substance abuse, there still could be further work left to be done in addressing this problem.

About the author: Tommy Zimmer is a writer whose work has appeared online and in print. His work covers a variety of topics, including politics, economics, health and wellness, addiction and recovery and the entertainment industry.

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