Drug Rehab for Seniors

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While it is most common to find teens and other young adults receiving treatment for a drug addiction, it is becoming more common for seniors to engage in substance abuse too. According to Johns Hopkins Health Alerts, it is estimated that seniors will consume 1/3 of all prescription drugs, even though they make up only 13% of the population in the United States.

Many seniors need to seek out medical care to help with injuries and other health conditions and they need to do this more often than other age groups. This increases their exposure to medication that is strong and could cause addiction. While these prescription drugs are often given out by medical professionals and will not cause addiction when used correctly, it is easy to overdose on the medication and form an addiction to it.

Most seniors who need inpatient drug rehab will need rehab for a prescription medication addiction, though there are exceptions when other drugs and substance are involved. Inpatient drug rehab for seniors will help the patient deal with the addiction, while keeping in mind that seniors have special psychological and medical needs compared to other age groups. These facilities will address these differences and will provide the senior with the care and treatment they need.

What are Some Signs of Drug Abuse in Seniors?

Before the patient can attend a senior inpatient drug rehab, someone needs to recognize the signs of a drug addiction in that patient. This can be difficult. Often, the senior received the medication as a way to help with a chronic health condition or to help them manage their pain after an injury. Many seniors will become addicted to a prescription, even when they are taking the medication the way the doctor prescribed.

There are several signs of substance abuse that show up for elderly adults including:

  1. Issues with depression, especially if they were not there before.
  2. Loss of appetite or a gain of appetite.
  3. An unsteady or clumsy gait.
  4. Behaviors of isolation where the senior does not want to be around others or participate in other activities.
  5. Trouble remembering things that was not present before taking the medication.
  6. Neglecting their personal hygiene or appearance.

Residential drug rehab for seniors will help the patient to receive treatment while breaking away from the addiction in their life. There will also be therapy options that help the senior learn new coping strategies to maintain their abstinence, even when they leave.

Family members may fail to notice some of these signs when they do not visit the senior on a regular basis. This can make it easier for the senior to fall into their addiction and may be part of the cause of the addiction in the first place.

Do Seniors Have Special Needs in Residential Drug Rehab?

Seniors will need specialized treatment compared to younger adults who go into treatment for their addiction. These patients will have issues that others may not and the detox and withdrawal process can be more difficult on them compared to other patients. Specialized care will be provided in a senior residential drug rehab center to make sure the patient is safe and unharmed as they go through treatment.

The lifestyle that many seniors live will often increase their risk of addiction. When limited mobility is introduced into the life of the patient, the problems will often get worse. Some of the situations that many seniors will face that can lead them to a drug addiction include:

  1. Boredom of living alone and having no one come visit them
  2. A personal or family history of abusing a substance
  3. Mental health problems
  4. Chronic pain conditions

Like traditional treatment centers, inpatient drug rehab for seniors not only helps the patient to stop using the substance, but it will also address the issues that drove the patient to use the drug in the first place.

This is often harder to do compared to traditional treatment options. Some medications are strong enough that the patient will take them as prescribed by the doctor and then become addicted when the dosage is too high. There are times when the patient does not have a trigger or a root cause of the addiction; they simply took their medication for another disorder like instructed and became addicted.

In some cases, the patient may start to abuse the substance on purpose. Depression for being alone and not having anyone visit, boredom, or anxiety at the aging process can all be common causes for the senior abusing their medication. Through therapy sessions, the senior will be able to work with medical professionals to learn about their underlying causes for addiction and how to cope with the stress and other issues in their life without the drugs.

What Services are Offered in Residential Drug Rehab for Seniors?

These residential drug rehab centers for senior citizens will be designed to provide specialized care to the older age groups that visit them. The goal is to help provide a pleasant experience for the senior to recover from their medication addiction. While some patients come in with an addiction to heroin, marijuana and other illegal drugs, a vast majority of these patients are dealing with a prescription medication addiction.

Through treatment, the patient will get a chance to receive necessary medical care, around the clock nursing, and help through detox for their addiction. There are several programs used to help seniors through their treatment. This includes:

  1. Psychologists who will work through therapy with the patient, helping them understand their addiction and some of the steps they can take to avoid the addiction and stay clean.
  2. Addiction counselors.
  3. Case managers to help the patient as they stay in the treatment center, giving them a resource to guide them through.
  4. Physicians who will help monitor the patient through treatment. They may also provide medical care for any medical conditions the senior has that are not necessarily related to the addiction.
  5. Registered nurses.
  6. Fitness coordinators who provide necessary exercises to help the patient stay fit and avoid further injuries. They may coordinate with physical therapists to help alleviate some of the pain from an injury that caused the addiction in the first place.
  7. Nutritionists to ensure that the senior is getting the right nutrition they need to be healthy and to aid in recovery.

Patients may also choose luxury inpatient addiction treatment for seniors to get additional amenities provided to them. Daily activities, spa services, swimming pools, and larger rooms are available for patients who choose to utilize them. This can provide more comfort and personalized care to the senior as they recover.

Will the Patient Need to Receive Therapy?

The elderly patient will need to receive therapy while they are at residential drug rehab for seniors. This will happen when they are done with the detox. During therapy, the patient will learn more about their addiction and some of the coping skills they need to handle life, and any stress it throws at them, when they leave the facility.

Therapy sessions will also include support for patients who are dealing with depression, anxiety, and even early dementia. Therapy options will need to consider these factors to provide the best help to the patient along the way.

In addition to dealing with the drug addiction, the therapist will need to help the senior through other issues that may be affecting their lives. If depression is a concern and the main cause of the addiction, for example, the patient may need to undergo therapy to help handle the depression and help them manage the symptoms.

Individual therapy can help patients feel more comfortable as they work through the addiction and learn new coping skills to serve them throughout their lives. Group therapy sessions can be important too. These sessions help the patient gain some of the necessary support group they need, forming connections that can help fight loneliness and depression in this age group.

Senior in-patient drug rehab will also need to focus on family therapy. Family members of the patient are asked to attend therapy sessions as well. This helps them become more involved in the treatment and better understand the signs and symptoms of a drug addiction in the senior. They can ask questions and learn simple steps that help them support and love the senior while aiding in their recovery.

What Happens After Senior Residential Drug Rehab?

When seeking treatment for drug addiction, the rehab center is going to become a necessary step to help the senior recover. These programs can help to address the addiction and will help the patient not only when they are inside the facility, but when they leave. Abstinence is a long-term process.

Aftercare for seniors will require a few specialized steps. It may include necessary social supports to help fight off loneliness and depression. They may be encouraged to attend support group meetings to get out and meet other people. Ongoing therapy and medical help will be provided to the patient to help them through the addiction and ensure they can maintain their new lifestyle without the drug.

Since many seniors who begin with a drug addiction struggle with being alone and not having a good support group, this will be a big factor in any aftercare plan for these individuals. The inpatient drug rehab facility may focus on finding support group, community events, and other ways that the senior citizen can be involved with other people when they leave the facility. This connection can help the patient to feel better and avoid the addiction again.

How Long Should the Senior Stay in Residential Drug Rehab?

Patients may choose between 30 day, 60 day, and 90-day drug use treatment options. There are also facilities that will take patients for six months to a year to help provide a full recovery. While patients can choose between any of the lengths for treatment they like, the longer treatment terms are often the most effective for helping patients succeed with their recovery.

Patients at an inpatient drug rehab center for seniors should consider spending 90-days or more there. The detox process often takes longer for seniors to avoid life-threatening withdrawal symptoms. Choosing a treatment term that is shorter will cut into the time the patient has for therapy and other treatment options.

The patient should work with their doctor and other members of the medical team to determine how long they need to spend in treatment.

How Is Detox Handled in an Inpatient Drug Rehab for the Elderly?

Withdrawal symptoms can be particularly harsh for seniors who enter into inpatient treatment centers. Prescription medications are strong and difficult to stop using. And many seniors will have other health conditions that can make the withdrawal process even more difficult than before.

Through the senior residential drug rehab, the patient will have a chance to work through the detox in a safe manner. Often medical professionals will slowly eliminate the use of the substance, rather than doing it all at once. They may slowly reduce the amount the patient takes each day until they no longer take any of the medication.

This will prolong the detox to several weeks, compared to the two to five days of traditional detox, but it allows for a gentler withdrawal process for these at-risk individuals. Attempting to withdraw the substance all at once from the elderly is often life-threatening to the patient and is not a good idea. Doing the detox slowly will help make the process easier.

Choosing the Right Senior Citizen Inpatient Drug Rehab

Seniors will need specialized care to help them manage their addiction. Their bodies may not be able to handle some of the withdrawal symptoms as well as other patients and other issues like early dementia, depression, and loneliness can bring unique challenges to the treatment they receive. Choosing the right senior inpatient drug rehab center will help the patient to get the assistance they need in a safe and helpful environment.

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