Why do seniors become addicted to drugs? The reasons are unique to the age group and include: coping with pain brought on by serious illness, coping with the death of a spouse of loved one, coping with loneliness and isolation and other stressors.
Whatever the reason an elderly person turns to drugs, they are at a higher risk than other segments of the population. Weakened immune systems brought on by old age mean the negative effects of heavy drug use will be heightened and more severe. The isolation of the elderly person in question can lead to an unchecked transition from casual use to addiction (for no other reason than there is nobody to notice the problem as it grows.)
What Drugs Are Most Commonly Used by Seniors?
Currently, addiction to sleeping pills and tranquilizers are the fastest growing drug problems among senior citizens. Both are abused by older individuals to ease pain and anxiety, and also used to cope with trouble sleeping. Often prescribed to help the individual, the movement into abuse and addiction is fast, and the consequences can be dire.
How to Help Someone You Know Enroll in Senior Drug Rehab
Helping someone into treatment is not as easy as it sounds. In particular, there are several challenges unique to older individuals that make the situation more complicated.
- Listening. Older individuals need people listen to them. Drug addiction often arises as a means of escape, because the individual has no other outlets. Spend more time with the older member of your family, and talk through the issues that are problematic for them.
- Pride. Many times seniors are too proud to admit they have a drug problem. Do not become confrontational with them. Assure them that they are loved, and that you are there to help them every step of the way. Reinforce the fact that drug addiction happens to people of all ages, from all walks of life, and that they have nothing to be ashamed of.
- Ignorance. Many times, seniors may not even realize that they have a drug problem. Learn as much as you can about the drugs they are abusing, then sit down and share that information with them. The individual may be shocked to realize what they have been doing, and consequently will be more open to receiving drug treatment.
Remember, besides drug rehab, caring is the greatest medicine when it comes to the elderly and drug addiction. Many older individuals slip into addiction because there is no one around to notice. Spending more quality time with the older members of the family protects them from risk and enriches the entire family as well. Don’t let loneliness and despair be the reasons that your loved one succumbed to drug addiction. Talk to them about their problems, and if the drug-related behavior continues, find a program that works with seniors and get them the help they need and deserve.
To find senior drug rehab programs in Illinois, visit www.Illinois-drug-rehabs.com. This informative website contains links to facilities throughout the state that cater to senior citizens and understands their special needs.