Drug and alcohol addiction has become a very expansive and all-encompassing problem in American society. The issue carries forward with it lots of different problem and trouble areas of different kinds, creating a substance abuse epidemic that is now so prevalent that Americans of all ages, demographics, ethnics, income levels, origins, and backgrounds are falling prey to drug and alcohol addiction.
Substance abuse is now a prevalent issue for the elderly. Senior citizens are actually almost just as immensely affected by this problem as young adults are. However, this crisis issue with senior citizens often flies under the radar because seniors most often are hooked on prescription drugs that they are on medications for. Prescription drug abuse is the most elusive and the most disturbing of all addictions because it denotes being addicted to a substance that is totally legal and easily accessible. However, the sad truth is that a huge percentage of senior citizens are currently addicted to the very medicines that are supposed to be helping them.
Statistics on Elderly Addiction
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention teamed up with the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration to get a better handle on just how dangerous and severe this issue really is. What was found is pretty grim:
- No less than 17 percent of people in the United States over 65 years old have abused prescription medications and over 10 percent are chronically addicted to their medicine.
- Approximately no less than 30 percent of adults over 65 are given some type of prescription medicine. This means that one out of every three senior citizens who is put on medicines will become addicted to those medicines.
- According to the CDC, men and women aged 65 or older should consume no more than 1 drink daily and a maximum of 2 drinks on any occasion, meaning that this age bracket experiences a far, far reduced tolerance of alcohol consumption than younger age ranges do.
- There are 2.5 million older adults with an alcohol or drug problem, out of twenty-five million total addicts in the nation. This means that one out of every ten addicts in the United States is over the age of 65.
- Six to eleven percent of elderly hospital admissions are a result of alcohol or drug problems of one kind or another, with 14 percent of elderly emergency room admissions, and 20 percent of elderly psychiatric hospital admissions.
- Widowers over the age of 75 have the highest rate of alcoholism in the U.S. by far.
- Nearly 50 percent of nursing home residents have alcohol-related problems to one degree or another.
- Older adults are hospitalized as often for alcoholic-related problems as they are for heart attacks. This shows a startling prevalence of alcohol abuse amongst older adults.
Nearly 17 million prescriptions for tranquilizers are prescribed for older adults each and every year. Benzodiazepines, a type of tranquilizing drug that is very powerful and very addictive, are the most commonly misused and abused prescription medications.
It’s Never too Late to Seek Out Rehabilitation
Drug and alcohol addiction rehabilitation is the best chance that any senior citizen or elderly person has at beating a substance abuse habit. Drug and alcohol addiction and substance abuse, in general, is a dangerous and very deadly crisis indeed, and it has affected millions and millions of senior Americans. Such Americans need special help and care to win against these habits. Such Americans need a fresh start and a new approach, and they will need special assistance and extra care to help them address their problems effectively.
Drug and alcohol addiction, for an older adult, is best tackled at an inpatient, residential, drug and alcohol addiction and dependence treatment center, detox facility, rehab program, and recovery organization. These organizations offer by far the best services out there, and they can give seniors the care, the attention, and the help that they need to beat their addiction problems for good.