Drug and alcohol addiction can affect senior adults just like anyone else. And according to the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence, there are close to 2.5 million older adults struggling with addiction. Older adults are prone to addiction and do suffer from the consequences of it more than other age groups. When you become older, your metabolism slows down. This means your ability to process drugs or medications slows substantially. It takes the body much longer to break down over the counter drugs, prescription drugs, alcohol, and illicit drugs. When any type of narcotic drug remains active within the body longer, it increases the chances of dependency. Many senior adults struggle with illness or surgical procedures. This places them at risk of becoming dependent upon pain medication.
Unfortunately, there are also cases where senior adults are dependent on psychoactive drugs. According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, roughly 25% of seniors take psychoactive drugs for longer than required. These could be drugs such as Xanax, Klonopin, and other benzodiazepines. Many of these drugs are prescribed for different reasons, and senior adults are more at risk of becoming dependent upon them. Alcohol abuse is also a problem within this age group. Alcohol is one of the most commonly misused drugs among people who are 65 years old and older. Drinking often becomes a way to cope with the changes occurring in life. Alcohol abuse is a dangerous problem to develop as a senior. Because alcohol is often mixed with other drugs, and the drastic impact it has on physical and psychological health.