When you think of the face of the substance abuse epidemic in the United States, you probably don't automatically conjure up the image of someone over the age of 50 or nearing retirement. However, new research shows that more and more of the 76 million baby boomers in the United States are just as likely as the generations after them to use illicit drugs or to abuse prescription drugs and alcohol. Grandparents are being admitted to emergency departments in record numbers for reactions to heroin, marijuana, and cocaine. The National Institutes of Health even went so far as to issue a warning about drug abuse dangers on its senior health website. If you're searching for a Wilmington drug and alcohol treatment center that specializes in helping seniors, call Legacy Freedom for help.
According to a study released by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Service Administration (SAMHSA), the number of those aged 50 to 64 who use drugs or alcohol has doubled over the last decade. The report further states that nearly half of all baby boomers have experimented with illicit drugs and that nearly seventy-five percent of baby boomers in treatment are treating an addiction that began before age twenty-five. These lifelong addicts are joined by a growing crop of new boomer addicts who have picked up cocaine and prescription pills as their drugs of choice.
So why are so many of this generation struggling with new addictions or returning to old substance abuse habits? For many baby boomers, drugs and alcohol are coping mechanisms. Faced when the challenges as children move away, friends die, they retire and spouses divorce or pass away, their ability to cope can be tested. As a result, boomers return to their old vices to overcome the emotional pain they are feeling or take up a new habit in hopes of escaping the realities of growing older.
Chronic medical conditions make it necessary for many over the age of 50 to take medication routinely. High blood pressure, osteoporosis, insomnia and other conditions can make it difficult for this generation to manage their medications wisely. Addiction in those over 50 happens quickly because the body is not able to manage medications in the same way. As metabolism slows, drug breakdown occurs at a slower rate as well. This puts seniors at a higher risk for overdose and addiction with powerful medications like Vicodin, Percocet, and Oxycontin. When these medications are combined with other prescriptions or alcohol, an unexpected dependence can occur. If you're battling an addiction, call our Wilmington drug and alcohol treatment center for help.
On average, a man over 50 takes four prescription medications each day. According to the U.S. Census, forty-one percent of older adult Americans have at least three chronic conditions, while ninety-two percent report having one chronic condition. In this same segment, the number of women who reported drinking regularly rose nearly three percent and the rate of dependency and abuse of alcohol nearly doubled. Combining loneliness, depression, an excess of free time and chronic conditions have led the baby boomer generation to turn to substance abuse to cope.
Another large contributing factor to the growing trend of drug addiction among baby boomers is the culture in which these now seniors were raised. In the time of the boomers' youthful rebellion, the views on drinking and taking drugs were much more relaxed. These views have carried over into a relaxed view on picking up drugs or alcohol again now that their children are grown and their responsibilities have changed. Unfortunately, this laissez faire attitude about drug and alcohol abuse has led to more than 12,000 overdose deaths in the baby boomer population and a huge spike in the number of seniors who are treated for overdoses in the emergency room.
Discovering that an older adult has a substance abuse problem can be difficult. Many of the common clues that someone is abusing drugs, like lapses in memory, falls, or avoiding social situations, are often patterns and behaviors associated with advancing age. Some family members prefer to ignore the substance abuse or leave it untreated because of the person's advanced age. However, both of these have potentially severe and fatal consequences. Ignoring substance abuse doesn't make it go away and can even add severe complications to conditions which can shorten the lifespan of your loved one significantly.
Holistic Wilmington Drug and Alcohol Treatment Center For Seniors
Talking with an elderly parent or loved one about their drug or alcohol use can be difficult. At our alcohol and drug treatment center in Wilmington, we specialize in helping seniors get past their substance addictions. Whether they struggle with alcohol, sleeping pills, pain medication or illicit drugs, our highly trained staff of therapists and counselors can help. Beginning the conversation and asking for help is as simple as calling or clicking to connect with one of our care specialists.
Each client is assigned a Life-Purpose coach who guides them through the recovery process. Together with your care team, you will create a plan of care that focuses on getting to the root of your addiction. Understanding why you choose to drink or take drugs is essential as we use a holistic approach to substance abuse treatment. We are not a twelve step program. Instead, we place our attentions on healing your mind, body, and spirit. Through one-on-one talk therapy and group therapy you will uncover the reason you choose to imbibe to excess. Forming bonds with others who are in recovery helps you create a sober support network away from our outpatient facility. Our program also offers friends, loved ones, and family members a chance to participate in your recovery through family programs and informational sessions.
Healing your body is as important as healing your mind. Utilizing our staff dietician and physical therapist, you will learn how to repair the damage of your addiction through proper nutrition and exercise. When combined with our extensive alternative therapy offerings, you are given the opportunity to learn new ways to cope, how to set boundaries and allowed to express yourself in a healthy and positive way. Choose from alternative therapies like equestrian therapy, inner child work or tai chi. For more information on our alternative treatments, see our previous posts.
The aging process is difficult. Adding a drug or alcohol addiction to the process can only create more challenges and shorten the time you have with friends and family. We understand that admitting you have a problem and asking for help to overcome your addiction is difficult. Our friendly and compassionate staff are ready to help you make the change in your life. Call or click today to begin your journey to recovery with a Wilmington drug and alcohol treatment center that cares!