A surprising number of senior citizens abuse prescription drugs, even though that’s not the demographic most would associate with drug addiction. A 2015 report shows that nearly 20 percent of the 35 million people in the U.S. over the age of 65 abuse drugs. By 2020, that number is expected to double. If you know a senior citizen with an addiction issue, have them call Legacy Freedom of Wilmington. We offer the best alcohol treatment and drug rehab in Wilmington NC.
Why Seniors Abuse Pills
Seniors have more ailments than younger people and often have prescriptions for chronic pain, anxiety and even insomnia. It’s harder to pinpoint a drug problem when they are obtained legally from a doctor. Problems can start when seniors increase their prescribed dose without the permission of their doctor, or when they mix them with other drugs.
Seniors may take more than they are supposed to because their current dosages aren’t treating the problem. Instead of making those decisions themselves, they need to consult their physician. Increasing a dosage or mixing it with other drugs can lead to addiction, and can also have other harmful and even deadly results.
Addiction can also develop after taking opioids such as oxycodone, hydrocodone and fentanyl, which are often prescribed for chronic pain. They all carry a risk of developing dependency, which a doctor should explain to anyone who is prescribed them. These drugs are also physically addictive, meaning that when someone stops taking them, they can go through uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms. This can make it hard for someone older to stop, especially if they don’t understand that the symptoms are the results of withdrawal from the drug, not part of an ailment they may have.
It can be hard to know if a senior citizen you know is struggling with an addiction problem because some of the signs could be a result of dementia or other illnesses. However, here are signs to look for that may suggest he or she has a problem.
• Changes in mood and behavior
• Seeming to be sedated or disoriented
• Changes in weight or appetite
• Visiting the doctor more, or going to new doctors for new prescriptions (“doctor shopping”)
• Running out of pills more frequently
• Being secretive about their prescriptions
A visit with a physician can rule out other ailments that could be causing your loved one to act differently. If the doctor is aware that you suspect a drug problem, he or she can help discuss the issue as it can be a touchy subject. Seniors may have a harder time admitting they have a problem because of pride, or because they just aren’t aware that there is a difference between taking pills as prescribed to manage pain and taking them because of a physical addiction to them.
When visiting the doctor, take the prescribed pills he or she is currently taking as well as any over-the-counter medicines to ensure that mixing them is not dangerous. The doctor should also review the dosage and explain that taking more than is prescribed is not recommended.
If there appears to be a problem that can’t be solved with a visit to their doctor, then it may be necessary to seek treatment from a rehab center. Older adults can successfully complete treatment for a drug abuse problem if given the right kind of help.
Drug Rehab in Wilmington NC for Seniors | Legacy Freedom
If you think the senior in your life is addicted to prescription drugs, call us at Legacy Freedom Treatment Center in Wilmington, NC. We offer personalized treatment programs to meet our patients’ needs. We have many different alternative therapies available that you won’t find anywhere else for people of all ages. We also offer family support so that you can learn how to help your loved one during treatment. Give us a call today to learn more about the best alcohol treatment and drug rehab in Wilmington NC.