Substance Abuse Among Seniors

seniors and alcohol

seniors and alcoholDid you know that alcohol and drug abuse is high among seniors? More than 49 percent of older adults were reported as at-risk drinkers by The National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH). According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 85 percent of seniors who suffer from a chronic health condition are even more susceptible to substance abuse.
Signs that a loved one may be suffering from substance abuse issues:

  • A sudden disinterest in activities
  • Lack of energy/motivation
  • Weight loss/gain
  • Red eyes
  • Uncared-for appearance
  • Changes in behavior
  • Sudden strain in relationships with family and friends
  • Abrupt money issues

The National Council on Aging reports that senior alcohol and drug abuse is expected to double to five million by 2020. This number is even higher for seniors who have a mental disorder. When diagnosed with a disease of lifetime alcohol abuse, seniors are three times more likely to have a mental disorder. The National Institute on Drugs reports that seniors who suffer from substance abuse may have a mental disorder or are unable to pay for their medication, resorting to stealing someone else’s prescription. There are many reasons why a senior may be suffering from substance abuse, but it is up to us as a community to combat substance abuse among elders. By being aware that seniors also develop substance abuse disorders, they can be adequately screened and helped.
If you or a loved one are suffering from substance abuse, call the Substance Abuse, and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) ‘s national helpline at 1-800-662-HELP (1-800-662-4357).
For information about any senior-related need, you may contact an Advisor by phone at 866-333-2657 (se habla Español), or by using Contact Us. Take an online look at our senior living magazine, Magazine. You can view the entire Directory of Approved Vendors at Approved Vendors and Partners.

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