Spectrum Health Systems

How Addiction Affects Our Most Precious Population

Published On: September 7th, 2018Categories: Addiction

Our older citizens have made our communities what they are today with years of love and hard work. That’s why its particularly sad to see the sharp rise in addiction among people over 65. 

Not only has the issue become far more prevalent, it is also under-diagnosed – allowing the problem to persist for longer than necessary in some individuals. Senior citizens often find that their symptoms are dismissed by medical professionals or mistaken for other issues experienced by older adults, such as loneliness, degenerative changes, dementia and more.

There are several contributing factors for this specific population including mental health issues stemming from higher rates of traumatic loss; relocation and/or loss of income; and, of course, physical health issues.

One of our outpatient clinic clients, Deb, recently shared her story with us, and it’s a common one. Her battle with addiction began about four years ago, due to chronic pain. Not a candidate for knee replacement surgery, she was regularly prescribed opioid-based pain medications. For a few years, she took them with no issue. But at a certain point, things changed, and her prescriptions ran out. She began purchasing her pills illegally and, eventually, found herself reliant on heroin. Her boyfriend, suffering from back pain, was in the same boat. Today, they’re both receiving medication-assisted treatment (MAT) and living sober lives, enjoying their families and living full, happy and healthy lives.

It is never too late to follow in Deb’s footsteps, seek help and get your life back on track. If you or someone you love might need help, give us a call today at (800) 366-7732. We’ll help you find the best treatment option.

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