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Senior Prescription Drug Abuse

Prescription drug abuse among seniors is common and can be deadly. Prescription drug abuse may be caused by any of a number of factors. If you suspect that your loved one has a problem with alcohol or medication abuse, please do not wait for the situation to get better. Any form of drug addiction is a progressive and fatal disease if untreated. Assessment and age-specific rehab may save your loved one’s life and your family’s well-being.

Accidental prescription pill addiction
Noncompliance with prescription drug use can result from confusion about a complicated prescription drug regimen. The senior’s doctor may have prescribed psychotropic medications for pain, sleep or anxiety problems over a period of time, even decades. Older women take an estimated 33 percent more of these medications than men. Of course, they may be surprised and defensive to learn this has become a dependency because, after all, “the doctor has prescribed it.”

Risks of prescription drug use and abuse
Memory and cognition loss, sleep problems, serious medical complications, loss of physical mobility and balance, and increased pain are among the many risks of prescription drug abuse and dependence, especially among seniors. In this case, the person increasingly has taken more of the drug to get the same effects, and then has purposefully sought more medications, sometimes resorting to doctor shopping, visiting “pain pill mills” or shopping online.

Aging bodies do not metabolize drugs with the same efficiency that younger ones do, so drugs can have a stronger effect. Physiological changes that occur as a person ages do not allow them to metabolize drugs with the same efficiency as they once did. Alcohol does not mix well with any prescription drugs, including over-the-counter drugs such as antihistamines.

If you are concerned about your loved one’s medication use, find out what medications they are prescribed, what they are actually taking, and who has prescribed them. Each prescribing doctor should be aware of all prescription drugs being taken by every patient.

Treatment for prescription drug abuse will allow your family and your loved one to recover relationships and health, rebuilding the entire family unit.

If you would like to talk about addiction to prescription medications, feel free to call us at 561-841-1296.

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