Drug and alcohol addiction is often seen as something afflicting younger people. However with baby boomers aging that is not the case, and the problem of elderly addiction is only going to get worse.
According to a news release on PR Web, the National Institute on Drug Abuse is projecting that by 2020 the number of senior citizens with alcohol and drug problems will soar by 150%.
A Florida rehab center called The Recovery Place said there are many reasons the elderly become addicts. One is aging itself. The news release said:
As seniors live longer and have stayed more active, the general aches and pains, or joints that give out or need repair, may require pain medication. Without close management by physicians, this use of prescription pain killers, such as the frequently prescribed Vicodin, can eventually cause a physical dependence on this narcotic.
Another factor is the loneliness that comes with aging. Friends and relatives die, and as a person gets older, it is harder for them to get out and meet new people. This can lead to a dependence on drugs or alcohol to dull the loneliness, anxiety or depression.
The Recovery Place has found that often times shame prevents elderly people from seeking help, so it fears the number of addicted older folk will continue to rise.