With 1 Million Adults Over 65 Living With Addiction, How Can Older Adults Seek Help?
Addiction is a problem that can affect people of all ages. Moreover, the older a person gets, the more potentially problematic a drug addiction problem can be. This is due to the fact that along with important factors such as weight, genetics, and overall fitness, a person’s ability to heal and handle sickness in general is a lot slower as they get older.
Why Do Older People Become Addicted?
This can mean that addiction for older people can be even more of a struggle. But why does addiction occur in people of older ages? This again could be due to range of different issues, such as a lack of fulfillment or boredom; for instance, people might miss the variety they had during their working years, and might be become bored with retirement, It could be due to loneliness and isolation, and it could also be due to feelings of depression, as well as other mental health conditions.
Moreover, as adults get older, they begin to see the ending to a lot of things (for instance, children growing up and moving out, the end to their careers, the deaths of friends and family etc). All of this can present a morbid reminder of what’s to come (the eventual death for that individual). These factors may also send an older person down the path of addiction, as they might turn to drugs as a way of addressing their feelings or avoiding them.
What Types Of Care Are Available For Older Adults Facing Addiction?
There are many different treatment programs available for older people facing addiction problems, and this form of care is available for people of all ages too. Addiction treatment can be individualized and personalized for people, meaning that it can cater to whatever needs they may have, and it can also be organized around their existing life commitments.
Inpatient And Outpatient Care
Treatment can come in the form of inpatient care and outpatient care. This means that people can either choose to reside within a rehab center (residential treatment facility) or medical center, or they can opt to go for care via a hospital or another facility that enables them to attend several sessions a week, instead of residing in that location.
In terms of deciding on what the best care option is, it’s best to think about how severe the addiction in question is. For instance, if the addiction is for a drug such as opioids, the individual will likely require extensive treatment that will include getting access to prescription medication and being able to get access to healthcare professionals continuously.
The detoxification treatment process is the first point of consideration for a person within their
journey to recovery, and for people suffering from particularly severe drug addictions, this step within the treatment is especially important.
This part of the process is designed to help people handle and overcome the physical dependence to a drug, and depending on the severity of the addiction, this could take a long time for some people.
This is due to the fact that withdrawal symptoms for different drugs vary greatly, and as a result, people will most likely need to reside in a location for an extended period of time in order to address these symptoms.
This therefore will be the first decision for the individual to make. Thereafter, the next decision will be whether or not they wish to partake in a detoxification process that is assisted by a program that offers access to medication or a detoxification program that does not include the use of drugs.
The benefit of taking part in a non-medical program would be that the individual can potentially reduce the length of time that their detox will take, and therefore, reduce their overall treatment process.
The withdrawal symptoms associated with various different forms of drugs can present great difficulties for people facing addiction, and while there is continual access to support from addiction treatment specialists, this might not be enough to achieve success in terms of overcoming the symptoms and moving forward with the next part of the treatment process.
By contrast, a medical detox can be beneficial in terms of helping people to alleviate the pain and discomfort they may experience as a result of the withdrawal options. It can present a problem once the substance user has overcome the symptoms of the drug they were addicted to, as they may form a dependency on the prescription medication, and may then have to spend time trying to wean themselves off of these drugs too.
Therapy and Counseling
Once the individual has successfully dealt with the physiological dependence they have for a drug, they can then proceed to tackle the psychological dependence, namely, tackling their cravings and addressing the root causes of the addiction.
This can be achieved in a variety of ways. For instance, some people might choose to take part in 12-step and 4-step programs. These types of programs provide people with a clearly defined structure that they can follow via a series of steps that help people to measure their progress, and identify their goals throughout the recovery process.
These can be delivered in the form of individual, one-to-one sessions, or they can be delivered via group sessions. Older people might potentially benefit from taking part in the group sessions, as it could present an opportunity to make friends, or at least communicate with people going through similar things. The chance of having people to relate to, particularly during a difficult time, could be invaluable for certain people.
Alternatively, people could choose to go with traditional therapy and counseling treatment. These sessions provide people with an opportunity to receive emotional support and advice from trained healthcare professionals, in a safe and secure environment, completely free from judgment.
This treatment can help people to build up their confidence once again. It can help them to discover hidden emotional strength they never knew that they had and create coping mechanisms which will allow them to not only overcome their cravings and beat their addiction, but also to avoid future relapse, and leave addiction in the past, for good.