Did you know that retirees are at a high risk for addiction? It sounds like a glorious occasion, not having to work after decades of punching the time clock. However, there’s a lot of emotion that comes with letting go of a large part of life. Not having to wake up every day with the goal of getting ready, going to work, being productive and then getting home to family is sometimes too hard to handle. That’s when trying to fill this void can often lead to substance abuse.
Those that had a tendency toward depression or anxiety during their working years might find it harder to fight it during retirement. This can lead to substance abuse as well.
Retirement should be an exciting time in life. Spending years working hard, providing for loved ones is rewarding, but it’s also satisfying to get to rest after those long, hard working years. It’s important not to lose sight of your health and well-being. Depression and sadness sometimes sets in when there’s no set goal each day.
There are also other reasons why addiction is so common in retirement. If life's problems have caused you to turn to substance abuse, we can help. Call Legacy Freedom for comprehensive alcohol and drug rehab Asheville NC age appropriate services.
Reasons for Addiction During Retirement
- Too much time on your hands can lead to temptation when it comes to drinking more or using drugs more. Many assume there’s no real reason not to. This is a dangerous and risky mindset.
- Those with ailing health can sometimes use drugs or alcohol as an escape from that stress and worry. Work used to be the escape. With it eliminated, there’s more time to think and consider the future.
- Some retirees feel like the meaning in life has gone. They don’t have to get up every day. They don’t have to work as a means to meet financial needs. This can cause them to lose sight of their focus on life and wellbeing. Addiction is sometimes their new focus.
- Retirement is a big deal. Sometimes, we make it much bigger in our minds. When the experience isn’t what we thought it would be, there’s a void that needs to be filled. If retirement feels like a letdown, not living up to expectations, alcohol is commonly used to “liven” things up.
- Retirees feel free and ready to face the world as a new person. This sometimes takes over normal behaviors and gives a sense of entitlement that you can do anything you want, including stay up all night drinking or partying.
- If addiction was already an issue, it can become more prevalent in retirement. There’s less to keep you functioning properly, as you don’t have as many responsibilities.
Higher Risk Users
There are some retirees that are at a higher risk for addiction as they quit working and stay home during retirement.
- Those with family history of addiction
- Those that feel disappointed or regret anything from their working life
- Sadness from being away from coworkers and friends
- Previous substance abusers
- Men, in general according to several studies
- Living alone
- Financial hardships
- Feeling isolated from the community
- Depression or other mental health issues
Ways to Fight Substance Abuse
There are ways to ensure you don’t fall victim to substance abuse as a retiree.
- Spend time with friends and family that don’t use drinking as a social buffer. While one person can handle two or three drinks every time they hang out with friends that doesn’t mean everyone can.
- Plan out your retirement for at least a year. Get all the kinks worked out so that when the time comes, your transition will be easy and smooth. Having a few hiccups in between can cause stress and anxiety during this new stage of your life.
- Plan out each day with different things to do. This will ensure that you don’t get bored. Sometimes, not having anything to do gives you nothing to look forward to. You’ll easily lose engagement with life.
- Make having only one alcoholic drink each day a rule if you’re over 65. Males that are under 65 can set their limit at two drinks per day while women under 65 should continue sticking to one drink per day.
- Join a club or other social circle. You’ll have something to look forward to and meet others who aren’t working as well. This will also give you someone to call when you’re feeling lonely.
- If you’re feeling depressed and lonely, consider talking with a professional. Don’t self-medicate with alcohol or drugs.
- If people are worried about their level of drinking or drug use they should seek help right away. This problem is only likely to get worse over time.
- Find a new hobby or other activity that brings you passion. Start hiking, photography or other movement that will get you outdoors and moving at least twice a week.
- Don’t expect retirement to be anything. Just live it, day by day. Relax, get to know your family again, without work taking you away from them.
- Consider getting a part time job. Even if the pay isn’t where it should be for someone with your knowledge and experience, getting out and working a few hours a day or week can really give you something to look forward to. Also try working with teens as a mentor or in a career center at a high school in your area. You can even volunteer your time at soup kitchens, hospitals or another health care facility.
Seek help if you feel like your drinking or drug use is getting worse. No one will blame you for getting help too soon. Substance abuse problems only get worse with time. If you feel like Legacy Freedom could help you stop the addiction before it starts, please contact us. We are here for you with alcohol and drug rehab Asheville NC services geared specifically for older adults.
Not all retired workers will face this issue. Those that do will hopefully find help within this article. If you or someone you know is already dealing with an addiction, please feel free to contact Legacy Freedom. We offer age appropriate therapy programs geared toward the individual’s needs. Don’t wait. Call us today.
Dependable Drug Rehab Asheville NC Services for Seniors | Legacy Freedom
Are you suffering from an addiction and aren’t sure where to turn next? Regardless of how bad your drug or alcohol use has become, help is always available. You’re not alone in this. Recovery is just a phone call or visit away. Contact Legacy Freedom to learn about our highly successful outpatient therapy and drug rehab Asheville NC services for seniors and retirees. We are here to help you get back on track to a healthier, happier life.