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Prescription Drug Addiction Among Seniors

The senior population is the group most often prescribed controlled substances. About 17 percent of seniors over the age of 60 will be affected by prescription drug abuse according to one study, and another study says that 11 percent of women over the age of 59 are currently addicted to prescription drugs.

Recognizing prescription drug addiction in seniors is tricky but hugely important. The health effects can be devastating and the money spent on unnecessary prescriptions crippling. If you or someone you love is over 60 and dealing with prescription drug addiction, call us at The Canyon for treatment.

Senior Prescription Drug Addiction: Unnecessary Prescriptions

A recent study done on a group of seniors over the age of 60 showed that about half of all tranquilizer, sedative and painkiller prescriptions were prescribed unnecessarily or should have been prescribed for a shorter period. Seniors seeking prescription pills only need to mention pain to get the drugs they’re looking for. It is, unfortunately, extremely easy for seniors to begin and perpetuate prescription drug addiction due to the high number of prescriptions given to people in their age group.

Recognizing Senior Prescription Drug Addiction

It’s difficult to recognize senior prescription drug addiction. Family and friends aren’t always around so they may not notice changes. Few work outside the home so their addiction doesn’t show up in front of co-workers. Seniors also seem to get fewer driving under the influence charges, so it isn’t always recognizable that way. For this reason, it is important to notice other signs of addiction: mood swings, depression, irritability or agitation, inability to concentrate or stay involved in a conversation. Too often, these symptoms are brushed off as nothing more than signs of old age, but in many cases, they are far from normal.

Senior Prescription Drug Addiction: Risks of Drug Addiction

The risks of senior prescription drug addiction are huge. In advanced age, it’s easier for people to get hurt while under the influence or have accidents that hurt those around them, and accidents later in life can be deadly.

Mixing prescription drugs is especially dangerous for seniors as well. About 10 percent of Americans over the age of 60 drink heavily, defined as 12 to 21 drinks per week. When combined with sedatives and opiates, this can easily lead to an accidental overdose. Sedatives or sleeping pills are warned against for seniors for this reason. Even taken alone, accidental overdose through a misused prescription is a danger for seniors.

Senior Prescription Drug Addiction Treatment at The Canyon

Most seniors will not admit to prescription drug addiction or addiction of any kind. Even fewer will willingly opt for drug addiction treatment. However, withdrawal symptoms can also be devastating for those over the age of 60, so it is extremely important that seniors get medical drug addiction treatment if they are addicted to their prescriptions.

If you would like to help the senior in your life get the prescription drug addiction treatment they need, call The Canyon today.

Wendy Lee Nentwig

By Wendy Lee Nentwig
Guest Contributor

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