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Why is There a Sudden Increase in Opioid Addiction Among Older Adults?

Why is There a Sudden Increase in Opioid Addiction Among Older Adults?

Opioid use among people age 50 years and older is on the increase as older Americans are relying more on drugs that are harmful. Opioid abuse has nearly doubled the past decade. Addiction rates for 18 to 25 year olds have gone down slightly, and also have shifted. Find out where there is a sudden uptick in opioid addiction among older adults and how to offer support to a loved one who is struggling.

Trending Demographics

When older adults reach 50 years of age, there is a sense that the mind and body start to break down. Even if it is a minor issue, doctors have been fast and loose with prescribing prescription painkillers for many ailments, not just severe, chronic pain for which it was originally intended. The newest trend in opidate abuse demographics has to do with recovery from surgical procedures were patients take what is prescribed without asking questions. Many times it is based on the trust of the physician, that they know the best course of action and treatment. Recovery is also much slower for older adults so pain meds are more likely to provide necessary support.

Opioid Epidemic

The pain medications people take post surgery provide relief for those with a slower recovery time, but also it depends on how much a person takes and how often. Medicare will cover the costs of prescription medication for older Americans, but will not help people pay for recovery programs if addiction takes hold. This problem has beseiged older adults and their families who care deeply and want to see them well and healthy, without the struggles addiction brings. While family members want to help, it can be difficult to figure out good next steps. Some of these can be helpful:

  • Watch their behavior and actions to see if any noticeable changes occurred following a major surgery or injury
  • Track in a journal what changes may have occurred
  • Speak directly to the loved one about it as they may not even be aware
  • Speak with someone who specifically deals with interventions for older family members
  • Research local recovery programs and payment options to give them peace of mind if they need help

There are many ways to offer support for a loved one with addiction. The main thing to keep in mind is that older adults will need the support of loving family and community to get through the difficult recovery. With help, they can live a long, full, and happy life without addiction at the helm.

If you think a loved one is struggling with addiction, Serenity can offer support. We are here to help provide a path to recovery that supports your loved one’s individual personality and circumstances. Whatever their needs, we will work hard to offer resources and programmatic support to help them recovery. Call us 24/7 at our toll-free number: 866-294-9401