Methadone Addiction and Senior Citizens

Methadone Addiction and Senior CitizensAccording to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA), 20 to 30 percent of people ages 75 to 85 have experienced drinking problems. According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), 2 percent of older adults in retirement communities report using an illicit drug.

According to Dr. Stephen Scheinthal, an osteopathic geriatric psychiatrist from Stratford, New Jersey, the average senior takes between four and nine pills per day between prescription drugs and over-the-counter medications. Because of this volume of medications, it is often difficult to tell when a senior is becoming addicted.

Mixing Medications

Between the overuse of prescribed medications and the act of combining medications with alcohol or other controlled substances, seniors are at risk for issues such as the following:

  • Balance issues
  • Cognitive problems
  • Delirium
  • Depression
  • Sleeping problems
  • Increased odds of developing other medical disorders
  • Adverse reactions that have the potential to be lethal

If a senior is using methadone to relieve moderate to severe pain, the risk increases because methadone treats pain by changing the way the brain and nervous system respond to pain.

Causes of Senior Citizen Addiction

In addition to the volume of medications and the potential of mixing medications, there are several other issues that may contribute to addiction in senior citizens, including the following:

  • Depression
  • Dementia or Alzheimer’s disease
  • Retirement
  • Death of a loved one
  • Grief
  • Financial difficulties
  • Loneliness
  • Physical limitations
  • Cognitive difficulties
  • Insomnia
  • Pain

Being aware of these issues can help senior citizens to avoid a potential addiction.

Treatment for Senior Citizens with Methadone Addiction

There are addiction treatment programs that specialize in treating the elderly. The staff at these facilities have geriatric experience, psychological training with the elderly and knowledge of addiction medicine. Staff members include the following:

  • Registered nurses
  • Physicians
  • Psychologists
  • Psychiatrists
  • Addiction counselors
  • Fitness and recreation specialists
  • Case managers
  • Nutritionists

In addition, quality addiction programs provide a variety of services, including the following:

  • The establishment of relationships with medical, psychiatric and social resources that the addict can rely on after leaving the facility
  • Age-appropriate content of treatment
  • Development of coping strategies that allow individuals to deal with grief, loss, depression and loneliness
  • Non-confrontational treatment for both the patient and the patient’s family members
  • A more extensive social network

With the frail health of most seniors, having a medically supervised detox provides additional precautions.

Medically Supervised Detoxification

Medical detox not only helps in managing withdrawal symptoms, but typically also provides many different types of counseling, including the following:

  • Group counseling with people who have similar problems and who can provide support
  • Individual counseling with a trained counselor to help a person gain understanding, awareness and tools for dealing with everyday life in a healthier manner
  • Behavior, fitness and nutritional therapy to further enhance the quality of life

Counseling is an important part of addiction recovery.

Get Help for Methadone Addiction

If you or someone you know could benefit from medically supervised detox services, call our toll-free number today. We are available 24 hours a day to answer any questions you have about medically supervised detox services and methadone addiction. We are here to help.