Posted on February 24, 2015 by Laura Fuller
Rehab is the start of a lifelong commitment to sobriety and improving the quality of one’s life. It often begins with the “engagement stage.” This may involve the entire family working together to help explore pathways to treatment. Rehab may include either or both inpatient and outpatient treatment.
Ideally, health professionals would be able to identify which drug or alcoholism treatment is most effective for each person. The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) and other organizations are conducting research to identify genes and other factors that can predict how well someone will respond to a particular treatment. These advances optimize how treatment decisions are made.
The acute care phase of treatment for Baby Boomers and Older Adults is based on age, gender and individual needs driven by comprehensive assessment and case management. Some examples of rehabilitation techniques include: Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), combined behavioral intervention (CBI), addressing brain system functioning, and Alcoholics Anonymous’ 12-Step program philosophy. These techniques may be implemented as appropriate.
In CBT patients are given instruction and homework assignments intended to improve their ability to cope with basic living situations, control their behavior, and change the way they think about drinking or using drugs. CBI combines elements from other psychotherapy treatments such as cognitive behavioral therapy, motivational enhancement therapy, and 12-Step programs to empower patients with ways to cope.
Addressing the needs of the patient’s families is critical to ongoing sobriety. Partners of people with alcoholism can also benefit from behavioral approaches that help them cope with their mate. Children of a Baby Boomer or Older Adult alcoholic mother or father may do better if both parents participate in couples-based therapy, rather than just treating the parent with alcoholism.
Continuing care is the long-term process of personal growth. It often requires intense support systems at the start including ongoing involvement in the fellowship of AA often with supportive counseling.
Rehab for Baby Boomers
Individuals born between 1946 and 1962 who enter drug and alcohol treatment centers often recognize the possibility of losing valuable relationships as they make the decision to stop the merry-go-round and renew their lives, their health and their purpose. Many Baby Boomers have spent a large portion of their lives believing in prolonged youth, experimenting with attaining good feelings, and making a difference in the world while in some cases even rebelling against authority. Music, art, the Vietnam War, and human and civil rights movements all left a mark on the Baby Boomer generation.
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 Baby Boomer generation hard as an addictive but “sophisticated” and enticing party drug.
Substance abuse among Baby Boomers today may be long-term, rebounding or late-onset in terms of its disease process. Current life stresses may stimulate alcohol abuse or the decision to take mind-altering drugs. Baby Boomers are often dealing with financial obligations. As the “sandwich” generation, they often simultaneously worry about aging parents, as well as their kids and grandkids. Situations involving divorce, chronic pain, job loss or retirement are all significant risk factors for chemical dependency in this group of adults.
In addition, medical problems plague many Baby 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 Baby 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 also quite common among middle-aged women and can become crossover addictions.
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 Baby Boomers are interested in the neurobiological aspects of this disease, so education should be integrated into rehab.
Medical detoxification may first be implemented if needed while a thorough, holistic assessment is being facilitated. This assessment involves medical, social, personal, spiritual, wellness and psychiatric factors.
Residential rehab that is age – and gender-specific or gender-separate encourages peer support. Specialty groups may include such relevant generational topics as sex, intimacy, marriage, divorce, loss and grief.
An individualized treatment plan should be designed for multidisciplinary treatment that begins with stabilization. Various group and individual therapies include a wellness regimen personalized to meet a Baby Boomer’s changing needs. 12-Step principles are introduced and put into practice along with stabilization.
Chronic pain and other conditions are treated holistically, and medical care is available on-site. Process addictions such as eating disorders, gambling or sex addiction are treated simultaneously. The recovery care plan that includes continuing care and 12-Step practice and support continues to be a life-changing tool as real recovery in sobriety begins.
Rehab for Older Adults
Seniors born prior to 1945 respond successfully to generational and age-specific rehab among their peers. While two-thirds of older patients have experienced early onset alcoholism, one third of older adult addicts suffer from late-onset addiction, which usually occurs after the age of 50. Major life changes, such as the loss of a loved one, retirement, divorce or grief can send a person spiraling into destructive behaviors and substance abuse.
Myths about older adult addiction persist, such as the notion that substance abuse “doesn’t make any difference at that age.” This is called ageism, and these myths must be dispelled for the well being of the older adult and the health of the person’s entire family.
Medical detoxification and stability followed by treatment services, continuing care and recovery care services are the best and most effective steps in substance abuse rehab for Older Adults. During treatment, seniors will begin to regain health, cognition and mobility. With help they will start to rebuild relationships with their families. In addition, 12–Step integration practice provides another useful way to give and receive support.
Age-specific substance abuse rehab should address the shared values and experiences of the generation. An effective rehab plan for Older Adults should provide generation-sensitive and compassionate care. Older Adult recovery is a slower process, because of the natural aging process and concurrent medical, mental and emotional conditions.
Family members may suffer similar physical and emotional symptoms to those of the drug or alcohol addicted and can also benefit from education and support. We offer client-driven care, and clients in need of gender-separate or gender-specific treatment receive it. If you or a loved one is exhibiting signs of addiction, please contact us at any time to receive more information: 1-844-U-GET-WELL (844-843-8935).
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