More Older Adults Seek Treatment for Substance Abuse

The number of older Americans who are seeking treatment for substance abuse is growing. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration reports that treatment admissions doubled in adults age 50 and over between 1992 and 2008, according to The Associated Press.

Experts predict this trend will continue as baby boomers who developed substance abuse problems 30 or 40 years ago continue to age. Older adults are more likely to abuse alcohol than illicit drugs, the article states. According to the AP, treatment professionals say there are many older adults with substance abuse issues who are not seeking treatment.

There are few treatment programs specifically designed for older adults. The article notes that seniors in mixed age groups may have a hard time relating to younger participants and may end up mentoring younger participants instead of focusing on their own issues.

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    January 19, 2012 at 3:33 PM

    This article shares a growing epidemic.
    “Unfortunately pill addiction is becoming more and more predominate in today’s society. There are many complexities that are contributing to this uprising and concern today and both the why and how can it be prevented. According to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health in 2009, approximately 16 million Americans age 12 and older used a prescription for nonmedical purposes at least once in the year prior to being surveyed.

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    Charlie Junio

    May 26, 2011 at 8:24 PM

    The most effective Substance Abuse Treatment does not just zero in on the addiction itself. It would also consider other factors which may be bigger than the addiction, and which could be serving as triggers for the addiction. A successful Substance Abuse Treatment would take into account the medical and the psychological history of the patient. If s/he was diagnosed with a personality disorder, this may be a possible cause for the addiction and would be treated in addition to the substance abuse.

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    Scott LaLonde

    May 19, 2011 at 8:53 AM

    From what I see in this area, gambling addiction is a bigger problem that substance abuse with older adults. Granted there are those who drink and do other drugs as well. Addiction ro RX drugs seems to be a problem also.

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    May 18, 2011 at 1:57 PM

    Of the 43,000 patients who have registered with to find a doctor for opioid dependence, the average age was 37 with many patients over 50. A great deal of our patients come from areas like Florida, with a large retirement demographic. Chronic pain is common among these folks and a certain percentage of those being prescribed opioid pain medication will become addicted, so the trend is likely to continue as the boomers get older.

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