Elderly Substance Abuse: Common Causes

Most people assume that its mainly young and middle-aged adults who have to deal with substance abuse the most. However, elderly substance abuse is actually a rapidly growing issue. In fact, there’s a few reasons as to why older adults in particular may develop an addiction…

Elderly Substance Abuse: Why It Happens

Multiple prescriptions

One factor behind elderly substance abuse is just how many prescriptions an older adult may have. As a person gets older, they may find they need multiple prescriptions to help them manage their needs. Over time, this can quickly become overwhelming.

Having so many prescriptions can cause a person to easily lose track of their intake. As a result, they may end up accidentally taking more than they should be. In turn, they develop an addiction and will take their prescription whenever they crave it.

Health issues

Health issues are also a common reason behind elderly substance abuse. It’s pretty common for people to develop new health problems and see previous ones worsen as they age. This is why they may end up having so many prescriptions, as they’ll all try and treat each specific issue.

Due to these issues, an older adult might try and take more of their prescription than they should in order to try and feel better. However, this tends to cause more issues for them, most notably an addiction. It could also be the case that issues with memory could cause them to accidentally take higher doses, as they forget when or if they’ve already taken their medication.

Life changes

Getting older comes with a number of life changes, which can be hard to deal with. For instance, many people find themselves unable to do thing they had no issue with before, such as working or driving. It could be the case that they may also be unable to live on their own, instead requiring assistance and needing to move to a new living facility.

It can be a struggle to cope with these changes, especially after years of independence. This is why they may try to deal with their stress and sadness by using their medication. The temporary high they get from taking higher doses can make them “feel better”, even though it’s just causing them more problems in the long run.