Substance Use And Abuse Among The Elderly Population

2853 Words Apr 23rd, 2015 12 Pages
Substance Use and Abuse among the Elderly Population
Joshua Antonio Dye
Arkansas State University

Introduction of the Issue The population of seniors and older adults are establishing an ever increasing concern to the United States and its system of health care. Life expectancy in America has increased and those who are blessed with old age are receiving all the side effects, from oral and health care concerns, to housing and nursing needs. Older adults are people aged sixty or older, and there is considerable data showing that substance abuse problems are common in this population but are mainly ignored. Substance abuse among older Americans is one of the fastest growing health problems in the country. Some reasons affecting substance use and abuse in older adults include social status, health levels, and lack of knowledge and data on the issue, while circumstances that might exacerbate the abuse include the participation of caregivers and the shame a denial of abuse. Health professionals often fail to identify drug problems in older adults for a variety of reasons, and lack of awareness means it is routinely misdiagnosed and undertreated, as symptoms often mimic depression, dementia, or diabetes. The baby-boom generation is substantially larger than previous ones and is placing greater strain on U.S. healthcare. When this is coupled with the lack of real advocacy for this particular population it means that the size and scope of this problem is likely…
Open Document