Drug and alcohol rehab facilities are not necessarily places that come to mind when you think of America’s senior citizens. However, according to a recent report released by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), “the number of US adults age 50 or older needing substance abuse treatment is expected to double from 2.8 million to 5.7 million by the year 2020.” According to the Drug Abuse Warning Network, the most common types of drugs leading to adverse reactions in our senior citizens are prescription drugs used to treat chronic pain, anxiety and insomnia. In fact, these three types of drugs combined to almost 25 percent of these negative reactions.
Drug and alcohol rehab facilities will need to begin to train themselves to better treat the psychological and emotional problems of the aging population. The older generation just as the younger generation is having a very difficult time with the highly addictive painkiller OxyContin, but chronic pain is only one complaint of senior citizens today. “Older people tend to deal with more feelings of loneliness and sadness and are prescribed anxiety and anti-depressants than can be abused as well,” said Chip Hobbs, an addiction specialist at South Miami Hospital with a long history in drug and alcohol rehab.
Painkillers, anti-anxiety and insomnia medication all typically have one thing in common, and that’s the tolerance the body begins to develop towards it when taken for a long period of time. There is always a risk of developing an addiction when dealing with substances this potent, especially as the body grows more and more sensitive as it ages. Unfortunately, many doctors in general but certainly geriatric doctors have not been trained in the field of addiction, so they don’t know how to recognize when one of their patients is starting to develop a problem. These doctors are trained to treat the pain or particular symptom their patient is suffering from, so that’s what they do.
Many doctors could learn quite a bit from the drug and alcohol rehab facilities some of their patients end up in, especially in terms of identifying certain behaviors that can act as sort of red flags to a possible chemical dependency. If a dependency on any of these substances has developed, the most important thing to remember is not to try and stop taking the drugs on your own without being under the direct supervision of a medical professional. Some of the side effects of detoxing from these drugs can be as serious as potentially fatal strokes and seizures and it’s always better to be safe than sorry.
Drug and Alcohol Rehab in Florida
Destination Hope is a full-service drug and alcohol rehab facility in Florida for women who are suffering from substance abuse issues and its many co-occurring illnesses. If there’s a woman in your life who has begun abusing any of her prescription medication and is showing signs of possible addiction, please put her in contact with us today. You might just save her life.