Unaddressed late-life addiction is a growing problem, but unfortunately, not enough of these cases are being treated. The increase in cases where an elderly person becomes addicted to prescription drugs, such as those used to treat chronic pain, is alarming to many, and it is thought that the numbers might be much higher than previously estimated because of the many cases that go unreported.
What’s causing the addictions, and why are these cases unaddressed?
The aging American population live much differently than their parents did. For this generation, drinking, smoking pot and experimenting with substances has been a way of life for a long time. There are many functioning addictions in today’s senior citizens, and many people don’t really think much of it. It’s just the way things are.
So, when another addiction develops, it’s easy to miss it because it’s kind of stacking on top of another one. Not to mention the fact that many of our aging loved ones take medications and continue to live life like usual, which can be a dangerous combination.
What to do about it
Unaddressed late-life addiction seems to be pretty common for many, and unfortunately unless it’s caught by loved ones, it’s unlikely to ever be treated. Since the number of functioning addictions in older adults is so high, it’s often really hard to spot. Treating it is almost impossible for many, so families just leave their loved ones as they are, and assume that it’s what makes them happy.
This often brings about the dilemma of why treating addiction in the elderly is such a pressing issue. Unaddressed late-life addiction is definitely a problem, but for many, if the addiction isn’t hurting anyone, and there isn’t much that’s affected by their aging loved one’s addiction, it’s an issue that simply won’t receive the attention it needs.
Don’t let unaddressed late-life addiction affect the rest of your loved one’s life. There are treatment options out there that can help your loved one to live the rest of their lives in a healthy, happy way. So, no matter how old you think your loved one is, it’s never too late to seek treatment for an addiction.