There is no age limit on addiction. Some older people struggle with addiction just because they always have and addiction hasn’t managed to kill them yet. Other people develop addictions late because of new life challenges. Either way, substance abuse is more dangerous the older you get. The substances continue to cause damage but the body doesn’t heal as fast as it used to. Seniors struggling with addiction, whether to alcohol, prescription drugs, or anything else need treatment to ensure the best possible health and quality of life. Life’s challenges continue to change as we get older. The older you are, the more likely you will have to endure the deaths of loved ones. Losing people you’ve known and loved for decades is painful. It’s not uncommon for older people to become addicted to drugs or alcohol as a way to cope with the loss, especially the loss of a spouse. Losing a spouse, a close sibling, or even an adult child can leave you feeling depressed and lonely. The more friends and loved ones you lose, the greater the danger. Addiction in older people is often mixed up in medical issues. Opioids are often prescribed for pain related to accidents, arthritis, back pain, or medical procedures. Using opioids as a long-term treatment for pain often leads to dependence and addiction. What’s more, addiction often goes unnoticed in the elderly. You might think nothing of it when your father or grandfather takes five different pills every morning because people tend to accumulate health problems as they age. You might also attribute some warning signs of addiction to age-related decline. Confusion, lack of focus, poor memory, and lack of dexterity might be age-related or they might indicate overuse of opioids, benzodiazepines, or alcohol. The consequences of addiction are greater too. Getting drunk and falling down usually isn’t too big of a deal when you’re 20, but at 70 it’s a major health risk. You might break a bone, which will further limit your mobility, making your health worse, and possibly require surgery and medication. The effects of drugs are also worse the older you get. Some studies have shown that alcohol is the biggest preventable risk factor for developing dementia. However, quitting drinking after age 50 does little to reduce your risk of dementia. Similarly, fatty liver disease from drinking is generally reversible, but once it progresses to cirrhosis, there is little chance of recovery. Quitting is also likely to be more dangerous the older you get. Withdrawal can be extremely stressful on the body. Anyone already suffering from cardiovascular disease requires extra care during detox. Withdrawal from many drugs can cause changes in blood pressure and heartbeat that should be carefully monitored to prevent complications. It’s safest to do this at a detox facility.
If you or a loved one struggles with addiction, we can help. Recovery Ways is a leading addiction treatment provider with an excellent recovery rate. Our expert staff includes masters and PhD level therapists and board certified addiction psychiatrists. Our comfortable facilities will help to make your treatment as enjoyable as possible and our therapists use proven techniques like sensory integration and recreation therapy to help to engage the world without the assistance of drugs or alcohol. Call us today at 1-888-986-7848 or email us through our contact page to learn more.