Substance abuse among the elderly (adults over the age of 60), particularly of alcohol and prescription drugs, is one of the fastest growing health problems in the United States. Addiction among people 65 and up is often underestimated and under-diagnosed, which can prevent them from getting the help they need.
Overall, alcohol was the most frequently reported primary substance of abuse for persons aged 50 or older. Opiates were the second most commonly reported primary substance of abuse, reported most frequently by individuals aged 50 to 59.
Signs of possible substance misuse among older adults may include physical symptoms such as injuries, increased tolerance to medication, blackouts, and cognitive impairment. Psychiatric symptoms that may suggest a problem with substance misuse include sleep disturbances, anxiety, depression, and mood swings.
Substance misuse among older adults is generally different from that of younger adults . As people age, their bodies metabolize alcohol more slowly. Therefore, older adults have increased sensitivity to and decreased tolerance for alcohol.
Substance abuse can simply be defined as a pattern of harmful use of any substance for mood-altering purposes. ” Substances ” can include alcohol and other drugs (illegal or not) as well as some substances that are not drugs at all.
Older adults are at high risk for medication misuse due to conditions like pain, sleep disorders/insomnia, and anxiety that commonly occur in this population.
Depression is the most common mental health problem in older people. People aged 85 and older have the highest suicide rate of any age group. Two-thirds of seniors with mental health problems do not get the treatment they need (the “treatment gap”).
For mild pain, the most appropriate first choice for relatively safe analgesia is acetaminophen . For mild to moderate pain or pain uncontrolled with acetaminophen , the use of NSAIDs is appropriate.
In older adults, too much alcohol can lead to balance problems and falls, which can result in hip or arm fractures and other injuries. Older people have thinner bones than younger people, so their bones break more easily. Studies show that the rate of hip fractures in older adults increases with alcohol use.
Elderly rehabilitation is maintaining and improving the general health and ability of elderly individuals.
Generalized anxiety disorder ( GAD ) is the most common anxiety disorder among older adults, though anxiety disorders in this population are frequently associated with traumatic events such as a fall or acute illness.
Constant and often debilitating worry — usually about routine events — is the defining feature of generalized anxiety disorder . Although it is one of the most common types of mental illness affecting people ages 60 and older, generalized anxiety disorder is often dismissed or overlooked in this population.
The statistics showed that the use of cannabis, cocaine, and tik was twice as much in South Africa as worldwide. Alcohol abuse was a major problem in South Africa and an estimated two million people could be classified as problem drinkers. The socio-economic cost of alcohol abuse was an estimated R130 billion per year.
Substance use disorder occurs when a person’s use of alcohol or another substance ( drug ) leads to health issues or problems at work, school, or home. This disorder is also called substance abuse .
Signs and symptoms of recent use can include: Feeling of exhilaration and excess confidence. Increased alertness. Increased energy and restlessness . Behavior changes or aggression. Rapid or rambling speech. Dilated pupils. Confusion, delusions and hallucinations . Irritability , anxiety or paranoia .
Legal drugs are known as over-the-counter (OTC) and prescription (Rx) drugs. Alcohol , nicotine, and caffeine are all legal drugs as well.