Elderly Substance Abuse Issues Concerns

Elderly Substance Abuse Issues Concerns

Hotoprete.bizOxycodone use in the elderly
03:14 | Olivia Holiday
Oxycodone use in the elderly
Elderly Substance Abuse Issues Concerns

For seniors, they can become even more habit forming if there are common emotional issues like isolation, depression and/or lonliness or chronic physical pain. Abuse of these types of drugs is caused primarily by the fact that some drugs are habit forming for anyone.

Most communities have local drug and alcohol resources found in your phone book to help you find the help that would be best for you locally. Caregiving. Again, withdrawal can be dangerous if the drugs are discontinued abruptly, so do not simply remove the pills from someone. Addiction is difficult to change - but it is done every day by millions of people - leading to healthier and longer lives. Seek out the advice of your doctor if you think you or a loved one may have an addictive use of these drugs. If you are worried about confronting someone in your family, you may want to talk it over with others who also care about your elderly relative or a counselor or religious counselor.

Sometimes, for various reasons, individuals will become addicted to the medication and begin mis-using it. Seniors are often prescribed medications appropriay for pain or anxiety.

The largest type of tranquilizer is a group of medicines called “benzodiazepines.”. Tranquilizers have a general effect of sedation or sleepiness and are often prescribed because they reduce anxiety and then abused because they are highly addictive.

Also, even if these problems with alcohol are recognized, family members may feel like it is "too late" for the person to change and so, they don't confront the aging person for fear of just causing more problems. Many seniors do have alcohol problems, but often these issues go undiagnosed. One reason is that family and friends may see the person's changes in behavior (like falling more, being cognitively different, or "slowing down") as normal parts of aging and not as a result of too much alcohol consumption.

A List of Commonly Prescribed/Abused Pain Killers (opiates): Vicodin (hydrocodone) Lortab (hydrocodone) Lorcet (hydrocodene) Oramorph (Morphine) Avinza (Morphine) Fiorinal (Codeine) Tylenol with Codeine OxyContin (oxycodone) Percocet (oxycodone) Percodan (oxycodone).

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Another issue is that our bodies react to alcohol differently as we age. For one thing, seniors are often isolated, depressed, in physical pain and alcohol can temporarily bring relief to these problems. So, what may have been "normal" consumption in someone's forties may be very intoxicated at age 72. There are many reasons why a person who has not previously had alcohol related problems would begin having trouble later in life. The body tends to metabolize alcohol more slowly and the effects of alcohol remain in the body longer.

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A List of Commonly Prescribed/Abused Tranquilizers: Xanax (alprazolam) Valium (Diazepam) Klonopin (clonazepam) Ativan (lorazepam).

One last issue to consider as you think about someone you love is whether alcohol will negatively interact with any of the medications being taken. Seniors are much more likely to be on multiple medications than any other age group. Alcohol may make some of those medications just not work properly or it can have dangerous and even fatal interactive effects.

The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism recommends that "healthy men and women over age 65 should not drink more than three drinks a day or a total of seven drinks a week.".

The two most common types of drugs being abused are tranquilizers and pain killers.

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While not usually life-threatening, the withdrawal (or discontinuing) from benzodiazepines can be very difficult and should be done under the supervision of a doctor.

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We have more pain as we age and this is normal. Pain Killers are common in the medicine chests of older adults. Signs of addiction are: going to different doctors to get the medication, mood and behavior changes, strong shifts in energy levels (either really low or really manic), and irritability. However, opiate pain killers have a strong potential for addiction and abuse - often even more than tranquilizers. Side effects can include nausea and digestion problems, blurred vision, dizziness, drowsiness, and muscle weakness.

Other side effects of tranquilizers are memory loss, inability to concentrate, a “floating” sensation, and disorientation - all of which logically could lead to falls - which are of particular concern for seniors taking these medications. In addition, dangerous interactions can occur if these drugs are combined with alcohol or over-the-counter sleeping drugs. Since these drugs also are central nervous system depressants, they reduce heart and breathing rate which can have serious consequences when combined with heart medications or an underlying heart disorder.

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In some cases, it can cause heart damage and seizures. The withdrawal can even be physically dangerous and includes: anxiety and panic attacks, muscle spasms and pain, vomiting, and chills. Below are commonly prescribed pain killers that can have this addictive effect:. So, it is important to not “quit” cold turkey but to seek out medical help if someone wants to stop taking these drugs. The reason these drugs are so addictive is that once they are used regularly for some period of time (even as little as one month), the body goes into a painful withdrawal when the person no longer has the drug.

Oxycodone use in the elderly