Although many believe that drug abuse is primarily a problem among the younger generations, healthcare professionals have noted a rising trend in substance abuse among older adults. Chemical dependency in this age group is of particular concern because a slowed metabolism increases the effects and older adults are more likely to have underlying medical conditions. Substance abuse among older adults may also include the misuse of legitimately prescribed medications. Here’s a look at some of the possible indicators of chemical dependency in this age group:
Alteration in Mental State
Make a note of whether your loved one displays symptoms of an altered mental or emotional state. Anxiety and confusion are possible indicators, as are a loss of memory and problems with concentration. Other symptoms may include mood swings, depression, and suicidal thoughts or tendencies. Although these symptoms can all indicate a chemical dependency, it’s important to remember that some of them may also indicate changes associated with aging. If you notice these symptoms, talk with your loved one’s doctor to determine if there could be a problem.
A decline in personal hygiene is often noted among drug abusers. You might notice that your loved one forgets to bathe, change clothes, or keep up with the housework. His or her hair might frequently be messy and oral hygiene habits might be noticeably diminished. Substance abuse problems are also associated with a decline in nutrition; you might notice that your loved one loses weight and displays a preference for junk food.
Loss of Contact with Family
Losing touch with one’s friends and family members is a common indicator of a substance abuse problem, particularly if that person was previously sociable. You might also notice that your loved one withdraws from leisurely activities that he or she previously enjoyed.
Substance abuse is a problem that no one should have to face alone. If you or a loved one needs help, call Aurora Behavioral Health Care in Las Encinas Hospital in Pasadena. You can reach our treatment center at (888) 348-2165 or visit our website to learn about our programs.