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Guest Blog: Spotting the Signs of Substance Abuse in the Elderly

Those who are at the twilight of their lives are vulnerable not just to illnesses but also to addiction, as well. This is especially true for the elderly who are residents of various healthcare facilities as the prevalence rate of alcohol abuse disorder jumps up to 22%.

Sadly, most symptoms of substance abuse are misinterpreted for depression, natural signs of aging, and other unrelated causes.

Here are just some of the warning signs that would tell you to get some help:

1. Lack of hygiene – People with substance abuse problems hardly care about their hygiene as the priority is when they can have their next fix.

2. Slurred speech – This is quite obvious and when you see them slurring their speech every time you check up on them, chances are they have an alcohol problem.

3. Extreme mood swings – The addicted individual becomes emotionally unstable. They can lash out at you for no reason at all.

4. Hyperactivity – Stimulants like meth and cocaine trigger hyperactivity.

5. Lethargy and excessive sleeping – Prescription opioids are the most commonly abused drugs by the elderly. Abusing their medications can take a toll because of their slowed metabolism.

6. Sudden weight loss – Addicted individuals are not really eating right because, again, their priority is sustaining their addiction. Instead of buying food, they buy drugs instead.

7. Alienation – They will isolate themselves from everybody else because they don’t want to be answering questions about their physical appearance and behavior.

8. Constant lying – When they do get confronted, they lie and lie. They will also feign illnesses in order to trick their doctors into adding into their dosage of prescription opioids.

9. Frequent accidents – Their motor skills will depreciate as they grow older and that’s understandable. However, when they fall more times than usual, it could be a sign that they have an alcohol abuse disorder.

10. Mental health issues – Over time, abusing drugs and alcohol will mess up with the chemistry in their brains. They may develop depression, feeling of isolation, extreme anxiety, among others.

Senior living facilities are not equipped to deal with substance abuse. However, they do have protocols on how to deal with these situations. However, if your parents and grandparents are living on their own and you think they need help, you can search for the rehab facilities in Colorado.

By |June 14th, 2024|Categories: Dr. Mauk's Boomer Blog, News Posts|Comments Off on Guest Blog: Spotting the Signs of Substance Abuse in the Elderly