Essay on Substance Abuse and the Elderly

1713 Words Oct 17th, 2008 7 Pages
Substance Abuse and the Elderly
Substance abuse in the elderly exists just as in any other population. Many seniors develop substance abuse problems due to circumstances or situations due to the aging process. A report by the Center for Substance Abuse Treatment/Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration indicates that 17% of adults age 60 and older are affected by alcohol abuse and abuse of legal drugs.
The report also states that a third of those seniors who abuse substances did not have a substance abuse problem in their earlier years. People usually think of substance abuse as using illegal drugs and young people as the most common abusers. People do not think of seniors as abusers of drugs. As a result, the issue of
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Be sure to discuss his or her recent and long-term drinking and drug use problems with the health care professional. Be sure to review the list of prescriptions and over-the-counter medications used on a daily basis by your family member. Help with decision making. Many older alcoholics and persons with substance abuse problems are unable to process information or effectively communicate decisions. Help set up community services in the home, if needed. Elderly people may benefit from such community services as home care, nutritional programs, transportation programs and other services. Drug use can disrupt family life and create destructive patterns of codependency, that is, the spouse or whole family, out of love or fear of consequences, inadvertently enables the user to continue using drugs by covering up, supplying money, or denying there is a problem. It is reported that family members feel that the issue of the user becomes their problem. There is a feeling of being drawn two ways, toward the user and their family.
The structure of the family can be changed because of the usage of the senior. The substance problem becomes the family problem. The caregiver is trying to take care of the user and their family. The concern is what are they doing? Are they alright? Are they drinking? Are they eating? Do they have food to eat? Should I go and check? Making sure the elderly person is taken care of can cause problems in the

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