Substance Abuse In The Elderly

Words: 1407
Pages: 6

Slowly, I am entering the world of becoming one of those baby boomers, a group among the elderly, an actual senior citizen. As a senior coming from the baby-boom generation (1946-1964) I have had more exposure to illegal drugs and alcohol than most generations, and it has become more acceptable among us to use substances to cure things ( It scares me to know that I can be-come a statistic of being one of the 17 percent of the senior population who will be a substance abuser. In this paper I will discuss my research and give my reflection on substance abuse of the elderly and explain what and how it affects our adult population, the elderly. One can now get a medical …show more content…
In older people, alcohol takes longer to metabolize, stockpiling in their bodies which leads to intoxication providing that their consumption is not controlled. Substance abuse is overlooked by health care providers among the elderly because they do not know what to look for. Substance abuse, use, and dependency are mystifying constructs when it comes to assessing complex behavior among the elderly (Benshoff, J.J., Harrawood, L. K., 2013). Substance abuse problems are frequently misdiagnosed among seniors. Seniors may use illegal drugs; consume lots of alcohol, over the counter medication or prescription medication in harmful ways. Doing this can cause serious money and health problems and possible trouble with the law. The signs of substance abuse in the elderly are similar to those associated to health problems such as dementia and depression. As state by Dr. Chris Iliades the following are signs of substance abuse among senior adults:
• Anxiety
• Headaches
• Depression, sadness or loss of interest in activities, friends and family
• Memory loss, confusion or
…show more content…
Seniors who live alone will find it easier to hide their substance abuse (Benshoff, J.J., Harrawood, L. K., 2013). As a Senior Center Assistant, I work with the senior population on a daily basis and have observed substance abuse among the senior adults. I have seen that there are definitely more men that are substance abusers than the women, especially those that are veterans. Many come in smelling like alcohol, they all have the signs of being a substance abuser whether it is drugs or alcohol. The signs are all there. This group of senior adults is very vulnerable and isolated. Most of them live alone, are on fixed incomes with a majority of them living at the poverty level, almost all of them don’t have any family members that care for them, and they take multiply medications and supple- ments for different medical issues. The seniors that do have family members looking out for their care and well being ignore their signs of substance abuse especially keeping up with physical hygiene. I see where they tend to downplay the existences of their substance