Older Adults Battling Addiction: Treatment and Recovery


Last week, we covered the topic of young people in the grips of addiction and the options available for those who desire recovery. We shared the benefits of seeking age-specific addiction treatment services as well.

This week we’d like to share the fact that many older adults, retirees, or those on the verge of retirement are not immune from alcohol and substance use disorders. Those who never had problems with drugs or alcohol in years past often develop chemical dependency in retirement.

It might be difficult for some people to wrap their heads around the growing trend of older adults developing an addiction. So, we ask you first to consider some figures, and then we will discuss why older demographic are finding themselves struggling with use disorders in their golden years.

Alcohol and prescription medication misuse affects as many as 17% of older adults. Alcohol remains the most commonly used substance among older adults. However, many older adults are misusing prescription sedatives and opioids. Some doctors prescribe both types of central nervous center depressants to the same patient.

Those taking benzodiazepines and opioids are at significant risk of developing a substance use disorder and experiencing an overdose. It is vital that doctors screen their older patients for signs of alcohol or substance use disorders.

Older Adults and Addiction

Many people retiring today, particularly baby boomers, are facing significant medical obstacles. Millions of older Americans contend with chronic pain, and doctors are usually more than willing to prescribe potent opioids in such cases. What’s more, retirees often contend with loneliness following the death of a spouse.

Feelings of isolation are compounded by having a significant amount of free time to dwell on the loss of loved ones and a sense of purpose. Such realities can make individuals highly susceptible to a yearning for escape. Drugs and alcohol can provide a sense of relief, albeit temporary.

Before one knows what has happened, dependence and addiction can develop, which leads older people down a dangerous path. Moreover, older individuals are more likely to hide their condition and not seek help because they are ashamed of their problems.

As with any case of addiction, refusing to seek assistance can be deadly. If you or a loved one are struggling with prescription drug or alcohol misuse, we strongly encourage you to take action.

Seniors can benefit from seeking help from a treatment center that offers a program for older adults. Being in the company of people in your age group facing similar issues is ideal, just as it is for young adults.

Older Adult Addiction Treatment Program

At Hemet Valley Recovery Center, we offer an age-specific treatment program for older adults. Our dedicated staff helps clients break the cycle of addiction and addresses many of the factors that precipitated one’s condition.

Our Older Adult Addiction Treatment Program helps clients build or rebuild self-esteem. We teach them how to cope with depression, loneliness, and loss while also establishing a social support network. Please contact us today to learn about our evidence-based therapies for the treatment of seniors struggling with addiction.