When we picture a person who is struggling with drug addiction, certain images come to mind. Young, in trouble with the law, lifetime of substance abuse problems. Certainly, one of the last mental pictures we paint of someone involved in drugs is that of a senior citizen. Yet drug abuse among the elderly is a real concern, and one that is growing by the day as the baby boomer community moves toward their golden years.
The problem with seniors and drug abuse
There are several reasons why drug abuse among the elderly is such as insidious problem, and why it is so difficult to help those afflicted with the problem. First, most older people do engage in the kinds of activities that generally bring drug abuse to the attention of others. They do not run into trouble with the law, they do not use drugs socially, and few are in school or working – where performance dips brought on by drug use could be noticed by classmates or co-workers.
Also, seniors are more sensitive to the effects of many narcotics, and therefore present a danger to themselves and others when operating machinery such as a car, or simply trying to navigate the areas surrounding their home.
Drug rehab for seniors
The best way to help an elderly person who is involved with drugs is to get them checked into a rehab program. Ideally, you want to find a program that understands the special needs of older people.Specialized care for seniors will include counseling that takes into account the way older people feel about their drug use. The golden years are a time when people cling to their pride, and the shame of drug addiction is harder to cope with as a result. Drug rehab programs for seniors also understand the health risks involved with going through drug detox, and provide a safe, professionally-supervised setting in which to endure withdrawal symptoms.
What you can do to help
In an elderly friend or family member is addicted to drugs or alcohol, it is imperative that you help get them in a senior rehab program.
Keep a sharp eye for warning signs that the individual may be involved in drug use. These signs can include: becoming withdrawn from friends or family, a previously unseen need for money (without explanation as to why it is needed), and nagging illnesses. As you can see, many of these symptoms are also general experiences associated with old age. This means family members must be extra-vigilant if they believe the individual has a drug problem.
Consult a professional and ask for advice about interventions, or simply talk to the individual in a non-confrontational way and ask if they need your help. Few addicts (of any age) will seek out help on their own, and when you factor in the pride of an older person, the way you approach the matter is of the utmost importance.
For more information about Senior Drug Rehab programs in Florida, visit our directory listing for Senior Drug Rehabs. You’ll find listings of all the best drug rehab programs for seniors in the state of Florida. For immediate help finding a senior drug rehab please call (866) 531-4569.