Are Older Adults the New Face of Addiction?
One generally associates the onset of drug and alcohol addiction with the recklessness of youth.
However, two new studies are challenging those assumptions, with findings suggesting that older folks are also quite susceptible to addiction's trap.
The first, from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, found that the number of adults over 50 who reported using illegal drugs or non-medical pharmaceuticals within the past year has roughly doubled since 2002.
The second study, from the drug and alcohol treatment and recovery facility Hanley Center, found that 40 percent of their alumni developed their substance abuse problem after the age of 48.
"Older adults face a distinct set of challenges as they enter their golden years," stated Dr. Barbara Krantz, Medical Director of Hanley Center. "This transitional period of life is unique and leads to difficulty in dealing with stressful situations, such as an early retirement or financial strains, which in turn may lead to serious anxiety and depression. Without the proper tools to manage their emotions, older adults turn to quick fixes such as alcohol and drugs, creating the perfect storm for dependency."