Call our Free 24/7 Helpline Now

Drug Treatment for the Elderly

Few speak of the issue, but drug addiction among the elderly members of our population has become more of a problem that at any time in our history. In addition to the tremendous health risks incurred by older individuals who abuse drugs, the problem also takes a significant toll on the family – stretching the bounds of compassion, trust and care.

The Growing Need for Drug Treatment for the Elderly

Drug treatment for the elderly is an issue that is growing in size with the aging of the baby boomer generation. As the number of senior citizens increases, and an increasingly drug and alcohol using generation reaches the retirement age, the issue of addiction in the elderly is on the rise as well.

The Orchid Recovery Center for Women has heard this call – and offers the most compassionate, supportive treatment available. This is a drug rehab Center that knows why elderly women develop drug addictions – and treats those specific roots causes directly and with kindness.

Drug addiction within the elderly population is an issue that is likely to grow in size and seriousness as the baby boomer generation reaches retirement age. After all, that generation has been a pioneer in drug and alcohol use, beginning with marijuana in the 60’s, Quaaludes in the 70’s, cocaine in the 80’s and anti-depressants and red wine in the 90’s and beyond. As their physical condition deteriorates, and they leave the work force, it is likely that their drug dependence, particularly on prescription pain-killer medications, will only increase.

What are the Challenges of Elderly Drug Treatment?

For the elderly, drug treatment has some complications not existing in younger drug addicts.

  • Physical factors. The body of an elderly person tends to recover more slowly from addiction and damage than it might have in its younger state. The liver, which is responsible for cleansing the blood and processing all substances, is significantly less efficient as time goes on. For that reason, the withdrawal and detoxification process might take an exceptionally long time for an elder addict.
  • Ingrained habits are hard to break. For many older addicts, chronic drug and alcohol use has been going on for literally decades. In all cases of withdrawal, the patient undergoes a period of distress while their body readjusts to the equilibrium existing before chronic drug and alcohol use. In the case of someone who has been an addict or alcoholic for a very long time, that period of adjustment – and the drug detox process as a whole – might be a very difficult time indeed.
  • Prescribed medications. Additionally, recovery and drug treatment of the elderly is complicated by the presence of other medications and drugs that the individual takes regularly. Health care providers need to be aware of the other medications that the elderly addict is using, and be on the watch for possible side effects, complications and interactions with other substances (particularly illicit drugs).

Despite these issues, drug treatment is possible and recommended for the elderly. At The Orchid Recovery Center we believe that no age is too old to finally take the steps needed to break the cycle of addiction. For those elderly women who do seek help from The Orchid, we understand the importance of support and guidance both during and after the initial treatment. For many elderly addicts, it might have been a very long time since he or she faced the world sober, and it is an intimidating prospect. At The Orchid, we help ease their fears and provide the tools needed to approach each day with confidence and sobriety.

The Orchid Recovery Center offers unique and powerful drug addiction treatment for women. Elderly women who take part in the gender-specific programs at The Orchid are given a chance to heal and learn how to overcome their addiction in a safe, supportive environment. Utilizing the ground-breaking work of Dr. Karen Dodge, the treatment staff at The Orchid has helped the facility become one of the most well-respected centers for Drug rehab in Florida.

Further Reading