Substance Abuse in Older Populations

1147 Words5 Pages
The issue of substance misuse and abuse among the elderly population is complex. The elderly rarely use alcohol or drugs to get high rather drug or alcohol use that begins after age 60 appears fundamentally different (Culberson & Ziska 2008). The elderly sometimes turn to alcohol and drugs to alleviate the physical and psychological pain from the onslaught of medical and psychiatric illness, the loss of loved ones or social isolation (Culberson & Ziska 2008). Elderly patients have a combination of and functional and social habits that support substance use. As adults age, they are often unable to do the social things they have been accustomed to. This is when many elderly persons begin to display problems doing the tasks of daily life. The option of taking a pill with the promise that it will aid in living independently is often a viable option for the elderly. This desire to remain independent is an important part in the complex treatment plan that is established when it comes to assisting an elderly patient who is abusing his or her medication. This paper will discuss the crucial role played by medical personnel, the influence of societal biases, and family and peer support systems of the elderly who are struggling with substance misuse and abuse. The importance of training physicians, identification and assessments, and treatment approaches are discussed as well. Prescription Drugs The number of people misusing prescription drugs is increasing in the United States
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