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Hydrocodone Addiction and Senior Citizens

Drug and alcohol addiction knows no boundaries. It touches lives regardless of demographic. All ages, races, genders, income brackets, and disability status individuals and their families are impacted by addiction. Drug addiction in the United States is rapidly growing, and so is the number of senior citizens who are abusing prescription narcotics such as hydrocodone (Vicodin, Norco) and oxycodone (OxyContin). This poses a serious problem for people over 65 because they are not able to metabolize drugs or alcohol as well as other age groups. They also have an increased brain sensitivity to these chemicals, which is dangerous even if they aren’t addicted to these drugs.

Seniors are frequently over-prescribed opioids, as well as other highly addictive medications, such as benzodiazepines. Identifying addiction symptoms in this age group can be challenging because the symptoms of drug and alcohol abuse may mimic other mental health or medical problems such as dementia, depression, and diabetes. Doctors will often write off these cases as diagnoses related to declining mental or physical health, when in fact, these people need drug or alcohol treatment.

The elderly have triggers for potential drug and alcohol abuse just like every other demographic. In order to properly diagnose addiction issues, health care providers also need to ask the right questions. For instance, the following are issues that could trigger an increase in drug or alcohol consumption, and should be addressed by the individual’s provider:

  • Trouble sleeping
  • Mental or physical health problems (anxiety, depression, injuries, memory loss, etc.)
  • Relocation to a nursing home
  • Death of a loved one
  • Retirement
  • Money problems
  • Conflict within the family

If no coping mechanisms are in place, an individual is highly likely to turn to drugs or alcohol to handle the stress. With continued use, elderly individuals may experience several signs of addiction, but are commonly mistaken for age deterioration such as:

  • Memory loss
  • Unexplained bruising
  • Irritability, depression
  • Lack of personal hygiene
  • Lack of interest
  • Isolating
  • Sleeping problems
  • Unexplained chronic pain

An accurate diagnosis is imperative for senior citizens to get the help they need. With proper treatment, the elderly may make a full recovery and lead fulfilling lives in sobriety. Addiction is a serious problem for senior citizens, and it is never too late to get well.





If you or a loved one are struggling with drug or alcohol addiction, call the Serenity Recovery Center. Our state-of-the-art detox center is designed to keep you safe and as comfortable as possible while going through the detoxification process. You are not alone. Give us a call, we are available 24/7, toll-free at (844-339-6964). Recovery is possible. Call now.