When it comes to addiction, there’s often a lot of focus on younger people. However, older adults can also become addicted—and in fact are using drugs and alcohol at higher rates than previous generations.
When Baby Boomers were coming of age in the 60’s and 70’s, experimentation with drugs and alcohol was becoming more mainstream. Now, it’s showing in substance use rates. One study found a 107% increase in Alcohol Use Disorder among older adults between 2001 and 2013. The National Survey on Drug Use and Health found that illicit drug use among those aged 50-65 doubled between 2002 and 2012.
Older adults have particular stresses that may lead them to use substances. They may be dealing with chronic health issues, memory loss, placement in a nursing home, or grief. They might have more idle time due to retirement.
Medical professionals may misdiagnose the symptoms of addiction in older adults as signs of aging. Additionally, substances affect people differently as they age; a substance use issue may sneak up on someone. For example, a person may drink the same amount as they always have, but start getting more intoxicated and experiencing issues related to their drinking.
Some older adults may have internalized stigma about addiction that is increasingly being challenged. However, older adults can get sober and thrive in recovery.
If you are struggling with a substance use or mental health disorder, there is help and hope. TruHealing Centers offers high-quality treatment for addiction and mental health disorders in facilities across the country. Our staff—many of whom are in recovery themselves—will help you build the coping skills to thrive in recovery. Call an admissions specialist at 410-593-0005.