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Prescription Drug Addiction and the Elderly

At The Orchid Recovery Center in Florida, women who struggle with prescription drug addiction are given a safe place to heal and master the tools needed to live a happy, drug-free life. This is important to all demographics of women, but in particular elderly women – who represent one of the fast growing age groups impacted by the increased abuse of prescription drugs throughout our society. Without the help of drug rehab centers such as The Orchid, many will see their golden years filled with serious emotional and physical issues.

The Growing Problem of Prescription Drug Addiction and the Elderly

The elderly are at particular risk for prescription drug addiction for a variety of reasons. First, the elderly are prescribed a large number of powerful painkillers and other drugs with a high potential for addiction. Second, the elderly suffer from painful physical conditions that encourage the use of painkillers to a point that might result in addiction. Third, the loneliness and isolation of the elderly has the potential to create an emotional or psychological state that is conducive to drug abuse and addiction.

For many elderly, the possibility of prescription drug addiction is very real and immediate. These people are frequently prescribed a wide range of medications for the ailments and conditions that accompany the aging process. For some of these people, the amount and frequency of painkiller or anti-anxiety medication might be sufficient to push them from prescription drug use to abuse and even addiction. When someone crosses the line from taking drugs as directed to becoming addicted, the mind’s powers to create symptoms becomes activated. For instance, if someone becomes addicted to a drug for pain, then it is very possible that the mind will create the sensation of pain in the addict that will justify taking that drug.

The issue of the elderly and prescription drug addiction is made more complicated by the common occurrence of legitimate, painful conditions in the elderly population. For someone who has chronic pain, there are few good alternatives to painkillers. Without these painkillers, the individual will not only suffer from a decreased quality of life but will also have difficulty eating and sleeping peacefully enough to be restored to optimum health. At the same time, however, no condition is improved by adding a Vicodin addiction or OxyContin addiction on top of it.

Lastly, the life and conditions of many elderly encourage prescription drug use. Many of the elderly are out of the workforce, out of the mainstream of society, in poor health, and neglected by family and friends. In this condition, it is understandable to enjoy the pleasure and peace that prescription drugs can provide.

The Orchid Recovery Center takes of all these factors to heart when it treats elderly women patients suffering from prescription drug addiction. By breaking down the walls of isolation, and creating a warm, supportive environment, the treatment professionals at The Orchid are able to speak directly to those issues confronting elderly women. The tightly-knit community at The Orchid helps these women feel loved and cared for – both essential elements of recovery success.

Solutions for the Elderly with Prescription Drug Addictions

For those who work with the elderly who are addicted to prescription drugs, the first challenge is helping the elderly person realize that he or she has a problem. Many prescription drug addicts of all ages refuse to accept that they are addicts because their drugs come from a pharmacy instead of a dealer. Frequently, the significance of their addiction does not become clear to the person until he or she has to stop taking drugs, often because he or she runs out of the prescription and cannot obtain a refill in time. The discomfort and pain of that withdrawal serves as a notice that the person has developed a strong dependency.

The second challenge of working with elderly addicts becomes determining what pain and symptoms are legitimate and which are not. Then the question becomes how to manage the elderly person’s pain in a sustainable way, without lapsing into further addictive use of the prescription drugs. Lastly, the challenge is to help the elderly addict find a way to enjoy his or her life without the use of prescription medication.

The Orchid Recovery Center for Women helps women of all ages overcome their addiction to prescription medications. At The Orchid, there is no shame or fear, only support and hope. The expert treatment professionals at the Orchid understand the special needs of women and utilize the ground-breaking, gender specific work of Dr. Karen Dodge to help them achieve recovery. For more information, contact The Orchid today.

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