In: Sober living

Comments Off on Substance Abuse in Older Adults: How Common Is It?

See Chapter 6 of this TIP for details on the links between alcohol use and dementia among older adults. Therefore, some older adults may struggle to relate to the rest of the group, which may increase feelings of isolation rather than alleviate them. Group therapy can mitigate these feelings of loneliness, but older adults may have fewer opportunities to participate in addiction groups. An older adult may respond to therapy differently than research may suggest, as the existing research may not account for their experiences. Many types of evidence-based therapy are available to meet a wide range of needs.

signs of substance abuse in older adults

Almost 20% of men and just over 6% of women in this age group are binge drinkers. During addiction treatment for older adults, providers will want to remain aware of how age-related physical differences may impact the recovery process. Older adults, family members, and treatment providers have several factors to consider regarding substance abuse. Older adults may resist addiction treatment and other mental health services due to internalized stigma regarding mental illness. According to NIDA research, these substances include alcohol, marijuana, opioids, and other prescription medications. However, research on mental health among older people indicates that when these adults do experience mood disorders, they experience more negative health outcomes as a result.

Substance Use in Older Adults DrugFacts

This article briefly summarizes data on the epidemiology, service use, and clinical considerations of substance use and SUDs in older adults, and suggests future directions. The estimates presented in this report were based on the drug-related visits made by patients aged substance abuse in older adults 65 or older found through a review of 5.2 million charts for ED visits occurring in calendar year 2011 in 233 hospitals. Emily brings with her over 3 years of experience in the addiction field having previously worked for a local substance abuse treatment program.

signs of substance abuse in older adults

Enlist the support from the people you love so they can walk alongside you during this recovery. If your loved one has diminished mental capacity, becoming a legal caregiver in order to receive all medical information may be a necessary course of action. It could be that they are usually joyful but are now always angry, or vice versa.

What is Alcohol Addiction?

The counselor explores other self-care and recovery strategies with Rose, including Al-Anon and a dementia caregiver support group. Rose is not sure that she wants to try Al-Anon but then agrees to talk with a peer recovery support specialist the counselor knows at the local recovery community center who is Rose’s age and helps family members. She will continue to track Rose’s drinking, benzodiazepine use, and strategies for self-care. The principles and structured format of SMART Recovery follow CBT and MI approaches to treating older adults.

  • Be on the lookout for signs like attempts at alone time, adult conversations, or inappropriate touching.
  • Steven Collier RN is one of the co founders of the Hemet Valley Recovery Center and owner of Addiction Medicine Services Inc.
  • Offer a “warm handoff” (i.e., introduce clients directly) to the care coordinator or behavioral health service provider in your integrated care organization.
  • Typically, late-onset abusers experience fewer physical and emotional health problems than early-onset ones.
  • Esther received a Certificate of Achievement in Addiction Studies at San Diego City College and has been a certified CADCII since 2002.

Also, if your family members’ sleeping patterns alter significantly without them being ill, it may be an indication of drug dependency. As in younger adults, being white, male, divorced or widowed, and disabled, and having lower educational attainment, increases the prevalence of SUD (Chhatre et al., 2017). Jack considers facilitating The Keepers of the Wisdom group a privilege and an awesome responsibility to assist the 55 year old population discover that aging can be joyful, peaceful, and comfortable; with balance in living and learning. In aging gracefully, we rediscover our purpose and share it with others.” My greatest hope is that we learn to deposit happiness in our bank of memories, live in tranquility, and honor; and grow in the direction of personal peace. We use The Keepers of The Wisdom Reflections from Lives Well Lived a daily meditation book by Karen Kasey.

What Are the Signs of Senior Alcoholism?

This belief can be internalized by older adults, leading them to avoid treatment. On the positive side, because individuals ages 65 and older are eligible for Medicare, insurance is less often a barrier to care. Some predisposing factors, such as age and knowledge, may be less favorable for older than younger adults.

Relocating to Hemet in 2006, Melinda took a position on the Telemetry Unit at Hemet Valley Medical Center, as well as a Per Diem position at Hemet Valley Recovery Center. Having a limited understanding of Substance Use Disorder, Melinda gained valuable experience caring for those seeking treatment for the abuse of alcohol, benzodiazepines, opiates, amphetamines, and the combinations of these and many more. She  also developed an understanding of various detox protocols, and the ability to identify the withdrawal symptoms unique to each substance.


Caffeine About 85% of people in the U.S. consume at least one caffeinated drink per day, mostly coffee. It can exacerbate heart problems, raise blood pressure, and increase the risk of osteoporosis. Third, loved ones and caregivers may worry about taking substances away from seniors. This could be because they want to avoid negative interactions or be afraid that taking away their substance may lower their quality of life. Those who are addicted to substances tend to have their lives overtaken by their conditions.

According to NIDA, major life changes such as moving to a new home or losing a loved one are risk factors for substance use and addiction. In addition to being impaired more quickly than younger adults, seniors who drink heavily (more than three standard drinks daily) can accelerate the onset of cognitive decline, while at the same time increasing the risk of dementia. Also, impairments triggered by substance use increases the risk of seniors falling or having accidents, both detrimental to older adults.

Concerns About Quality of Life

A key element for clients with AUD is learning skills for turning down drinks when in social situations. This guide helps professional care providers and administrators understand the role of culture in the delivery of mental health and substance use services. It describes cultural competence and discusses racial, ethnic, and cultural considerations. This manual provides clinical practice guidelines for using medications in the medication-assisted treatment of alcohol use disorder. It offers guidance on prescribing acamprosate, disulfiram, oral naltrexone, and extended-release injectable naltrexone.

  • This manual serves as a quick reference guide for clinicians treating chronic pain in adults living with a history of substance use.
  • Identify treatment and recovery programs that can build self-esteem, help cope with depression or loneliness, and link them with people and resources to help them through the recovery process.
  • Finally, a third important direction will be to ensure increased attention to social determinants of health (Blanco et al., 2020).
  • You should also check the label for guidance on limiting alcohol while on acetaminophen.
  • As a result, loved ones may miss the signs of substance use in their older adult loved ones, which may delay or prevent these older adults from receiving care.
  • This article briefly summarizes data on the epidemiology, service use, and clinical considerations of substance use and SUDs in older adults, and suggests future directions.

Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+Pin on PinterestEmail this to someonePrint this page