Authored by Kathleen Yates

As we look around, drug addiction among senior citizens is on a steady rise. Drug addiction affects not only the addict and family but also society as a whole. Since it is difficult to break habits at a ripe age, addiction in senior citizens is something of significance when it comes to helping those in addiction.

Here are a few things you should consider while dealing with an elderly fighting drug addiction:

  1. Addiction Treatment Program

The very first step that lies ahead of any individual addicted to drugs is to acknowledge their addiction. Whenever the individual rightfully accepts it, the next step lies in the treatment of it; the process that will bring peace and happiness into its life. According to experts at Lantana Recovery, opting for a treatment program is more helpful than journeying towards recovery all on your own.

In today’s world, there are countless treatments available to counter drug abuse. One may join a patient facility or rehabilitation center or opt for a detox program. Some of the individuals bravely come out of the addiction through the support programs/groups or therapy sessions, without having the need of being admitted in a rehab. There is no hierarchy to follow or go by the book to free one’s self from the addiction, whatever pathway one chooses or feels comfortable with, can turn out to be a success story.

  1. Understanding The Causes

Furthermore, it is important to look at the medical side of addiction. Ultimately, it boils down to whether or not there is something biologically or chemically different in the addict that separates them from a normal human being. The American Psychiatric Association defines addiction as “the persistence of drug use despite aversive consequences”.

Deductive reasoning implies that anybody who continues to do something that repeatedly harms them must have physical or mental reasoning behind it. Though their use may start off as a simple decision, they eventually lose the power of choice in the matter. Researches have shown that brain chemistry and addiction are related.

It is to be found that people who develop addictions handle stress differently, and the release of dopamine from drugs eliminates this stress. This can provide as a base for the addict’s family or caretaker to explore the causes of drug addiction.

  1. Effects Of Drug Abuse

Excess of anything can be detrimental for the human body. Some of the most commonly faced short-terms outcomes of drug abuse are anxiety, depressions, continuous panic attacks, sudden hallucinations, unreasonable annoyance etc.

Not only that, but it can also cause a long-term effect on someone, leaving a prominent mark and difficult to control. It includes schizophrenia, endless stomach issues, paranoid attitude and hallucinations. These effects may also cause more health issues in elderly citizens. Not only physical and mental, but social factors also come into play, which adversely affects close relationship ties.

  1. Trend Of Drug Addiction

It has become more and more frequent that we hear of the drug epidemic all over the world. With the amount of money being thrown into the War on Drugs and the increase of people addicted to them, we ultimately need to look at the issue. Timothy Hickman stated that “Tobacco delivers the legal drug nicotine and it is used by 30% of the global population. Alcohol is still more popular. These two relatively deregulated drugs together cause around 7 million deaths per year, while illicit drugs cause only about 200,000”.

The data collected through the operational tenure of authorities in the US do not show consistency and discreteness. However, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration has begun to conduct state-based surveys to collect data as part of the evaluation and treatment process.

  1. Signs & Symptoms

The signs and signals through which one can identify its extensive use are through behavioural, social and physical changes. The signs may show a considerable increase in depression, shakiness, sweat and constant headaches.  It also includes losing interest in daily routine chores and replacing it with too much or too little sleep. The apparent change could also be a diagnostic factor of drug abuse like bloodshot eyes, having bad breath most of the time, blood running from the nose or massive increase/decrease in weight.

  1. Engage In Activities

To counter the epidemic and fight it, a person needs to actively play its own role. Any physical activity will not only prove good for health but also caters in diverting the attention and prevents substance abuse. It encourages the need to quit drug abuse by boosting the neurochemicals of the brain. Such observations conclude that any kind of physical activity results in mood elevations, which combats depression and improves cognitive function. To develop physical activities in daily patterns can resist the excessive use of drugs, hence proves to be an effective method for mind diversion and positive thought development.

  1. Support From Loved Ones

Apart from it being a personal effort, the decision of taking help from someone you love can also prove to be fruitful and effective. There is a greater chance that this might help one overcome the overuse of substance. The step towards it starts from connecting to someone you trust. The first pillar helps one reach the ultimate goal.

Accept the fact that the one who needs help is you and go one with it. To begin with, communicate with all honesty, reveal the addiction and you’re tempted to change it. Only then, one will be able to help you with the treatment. With respecting privacy, avoiding the need to lecture or criticizing the addict helps them out of it.

Self-evaluation with long term perspectives in mind can help build a conscious effort to quit the use of drugs. With having multiple approaches and activities to help you in your journey, acknowledging and opting for recovery it is the first step towards a new life. Do not let drugs control your life, take the control in your hand.