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Addiction in Older Adults

older man struggles with addiction

Addiction is often thought of as a young person’s disease, but in some cases, older adults may be the most vulnerable to developing a new addiction during hardships or major life changes.  For people above 60, addiction can take hold after experiencing the loss of a spouse, facing a serious illness, or dealing with financial issues when they are no longer able to work. It is common for older adults to turn to alcohol abuse to cope with both emotional and physical pain.  They may also be more likely to develop an addiction to opioids after they are prescribed for pain or illness. While it may be more difficult for older adults to come to terms with their addiction, getting help as soon as possible can mean the difference between a life full of stress and illness, and experiencing the true fulfillment that should accompany the golden years. The opioid crisis has been in full swing in recent years as increasingly more Americans have access to highly addictive pain medications.  This is especially true for older adults who are more prone to injury and illness, and may not know how easily an addiction can form. An individual who experiences opioid addiction may withdraw from their usual activities and begin to take the drug for mental illnesses such as anxiety and depression, rather than exclusively for pain.  Excessive opioid use can lead to a variety of dangerous side effects such as an increased risk of injury, as well as cognitive impairment.   Many older adults turn to alcohol in times of stress or dramatic transition, such as the loss of a loved one or financial hardship.  As we age, we are unable to process alcohol as efficiently as we did when we were younger. This means that older adults are more prone to illness as a result of alcohol abuse, as well as serious accidents such as falls and car crashes while driving under the influence.  

If you believe you or your loved one has developed an addiction, now is the time to seek help. At Arbor Behavioral Healthcare, you will meet knowledgeable, compassionate professionals that understand addiction in all its forms.  The Arbor uses an integrative and holistic approach to treat addiction and mental health issues. No treatment is one-size-fits-all, and at The Arbor you will have a team of experts prepared to create your customized treatment plan.  We offer care for your mind, body, and spirit, so that you can heal from the inside out and look forward to a lifetime of sobriety and wellness. If you are ready to take the first step in your recovery, please call us at 844-413-2690