Signs of Drug and Alcohol Abuse in Elderly

By | November 25, 2011

Addiction in older adults cannot be detected if they are left alone at home. Also, friends and family members do not consider the problems of substance abuse as an issue because they often think that their elderly one has been suffering from depression, anxiety and memory or thinking problems. Instead, you should search or identify for certain signs of drug and alcohol abuse for early detection.

Look for drug abusing symptoms such as slurred speech, unexplained nausea or vomiting and unexplained bruises. They also have trouble in memory and concentration, loss of coordination, and unexplained chronic pain. With improper coordination, they walk unsteadily and you may also observe frequent falls. In addition, their sleeping and eating habits get changed. They show negligence in their own appearance and often fail to take bath, groom, or keep clean and hence, maintain poor hygiene.

Older adults taking drugs and alcohol often are involved with legal problems, chronic diarrhea, labile moods, malnutrition and recent isolation. They lack interest in usual family and social activities. Also, they do not want to stay in touch with family or friends and wish to stay alone most of the time. They are also irritable, sad and depressed. Even they are unsure of being themselves. Elderly women abusing drugs are more likely to be diagnosed or undiagnosed with depression. Once you observe these symptoms, you should encourage them to seek help and take them to the healthcare provider at the right time. Do not neglect to provide immediate treatment through motivational therapy.

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