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Rehab for Boomers

One of the possible consequences of substance abuse is loss of valued relationships. Baby Boomers who enter drug and alcohol rehab centers often recognize this possibility as they make the decision to stop the merry-go-round and renew their lives, their health and their purpose.

Influences of Boomer substance abuse often began in youth.  

Boomers have all been affected directly or indirectly by the cultural and world upheavals experienced during the “Psychedelic Age” or “Age of Sex, Drugs and Rock ’n’ Roll.”

Many Boomers spent a large portion of their lives believing in prolonged youth, experimenting with attaining good feelings and making a difference. Some Boomers rebelled against authority. Music, art, the war in Vietnam, and human and civil rights movements all left a mark on the Boomer generation which includes those individuals born between 1946 and 1964.

More than 50 percent of Boomers have tried illicit drugs. Many became addicted to hallucinogens, alcohol or opiates. Some are still addicted to marijuana. In the ’80s, cocaine hit the Boomer generation hard as an addictive but “sophisticated” party drug.

Substance abuse among Boomers today:

  • Boomer substance abuse may be a long-term, rebounding or late-onset disease.
  • Boomers may revisit drugs they’ve used in the past or switch to another drug of choice.
  • Substance abuse has often started with “quick fixes” for Boomers, whether that means alcohol or a combination of illegal stimulants such as cocaine or prescription drugs including oxycodone.
  • Current life stresses may stimulate alcohol abuse or the decision to take mind-altering drugs. Boomers are often dealing with financial obligations, and, as the “sandwich” generation, they often simultaneously worry about aging parents, as well as their kids and grandkids. Divorce, chronic pain, loss of job or retirement are all risk factors for chemical dependency.
  • Medical problems plague many Boomer addicts. These stem from the types and combinations of drugs they are taking, the quantity and duration of drug use and the effect of these drugs on the body, including the brain.
  • Co-occurring mental disorders are commonly found among Boomer addicts like depression and anxiety in its various forms as well as Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD).
  • Process addictions such as eating disorders are common among middle-aged women and can become crossover addictions.

The Process of Recovery

In any form, addiction is devastating but not hopeless. The individual, as well as that person’s family, should be treated in rehab. Treatment is not a quick fix but a process in which the patient is involved. Most Boomers are interested in the neurobiological aspects of this disease, so education should be integrated into rehab.

Co-educational residential rehab encourages peer support. Here are some further components of Boomer-specific rehab:

  • Medical detoxification may be implemented as a thorough holistic assessment is being facilitated. This assessment involves medical, social, personal, spiritual, wellness, psychological and psychiatric factors.
  • An individualized treatment plan should be designed for multidisciplinary rehab; this begins with stabilization.
  • Various group and individual therapies include a wellness regimen personalized to meet your changing needs.
  • 12-Step practice and principals are introduced and put into practice along with stabilization.
  • Chronic pain and other conditions are treated holistically, and medical care is available on-site.
  • Specialty groups may be gender-specific and may include such topics as sex vs. intimacy, marriage, divorce, loss and grief.
  • Process addictions such as eating disorders, gambling or sex addiction are treated simultaneously.

The recovery care plan may include continuing care and identifying triggers that aid in relapse prevention. 12-Step practice and support are life-changing as real recovery in sobriety begins.