Some addicts and alcoholics engage in substance use for years before coming to the conclusion that they need help. Unfortunately, many feel by this point that they can’t recover. After multiple attempts to stop using on their own, they convince themselves that their problem is simply insurmountable. This is sometimes especially true of older substance users, who feel that they had their chance to enter an alcohol and drug rehab in California in earlier years yet allowed the chance to pass them by.
There is always a chance of recovery. No matter how advanced in years a user may become, alcohol and drug rehab can still help them live out the rest of their days in substance-free serenity. In fact, those in need of drug and alcohol rehab may find that entering in their later years can help them overcome a number of struggles unique to those in their age group.
The Facts on Old Age and Substance Use
In 2014, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) reported that more than 1 million older Americans had a substance use disorder. SAMHSA mentions that substance use declines in the American population as age increases. Yet this statistic proves that it affects a large chunk of the United States. It notes that this number is likely to increase as the years go by.
In addition, this organization says that a much higher amount of Americans 65 and older teeter on the edge of addiction. For example, 3.4 million people in this population indulge in binge drinking. This is when a man has five drinks or more in a day, or four for a woman. This goes alongside the 772,000 that admitted heavily drinking.
The National Institute on Aging (NIA) notes these complications for people who choose to drink at an older age:
- Increased risk of car accidents (goes up after 55)
- Worsens memory loss and mood disorders
- Makes it more difficult to recognize warning signals of a heart attack
- Increased chance of hip fractures (especially because of thinner bones)
- Strains relationships with friends and family members
Further, it may be more difficult to identify when an older person has a substance abuse disorder. First off, they’re adults. People expect them to be more accountable for their actions. Yet a dependency on prescription medication may go undetected. Also, a penchant for alcohol might seem like a fun quirk.
For example, when grandma gets a little drunkenly emotional at a family gathering or has a glass of scotch at a restaurant, it’s more amusing than anything. Turn this around to someone who is 21, though, and it’s alarming. Family and friends may not realize that grandma has a glass of scotch a few times a day and gets drunk.
Consequences of Addiction at a Later Age
Everyone who suffers from substance use disorder experiences consequences in one form or another. Those of advanced age, however, may be more prone to certain forms of suffering. According to the National Institute on Aging, those who drink alcohol at later ages can find themselves at increased risk of liver damage, immune system disorders, and certain forms of cancer. They may also suffer from brain damage that can cause symptoms often confused with Alzheimer’s disease.
Any addictive substance can cause these symptoms and more. By the time they realize they need to enter alcohol and drug rehab in California, many older patients find that the symptoms of pre-existing conditions have worsened. Health defects caused by stroke, high blood pressure, diabetes, and osteoporosis will become more severe. Some patients may also suffer falls and other injuries while under the influence of mind-altering substances. In some cases, they may suffer heart attacks.
By entering drug and alcohol rehab, especially at the medical detox level, older addicts can treat these symptoms immediately. Due to the prevalence of prescription drug addiction among the elderly, detox might be necessary to treat severe withdrawal symptoms. Despite the urgent need to treat these symptoms, however, many will still convince themselves otherwise. They might think that they are too old for California alcohol and drug rehab. It benefits such individuals to learn more about the advantages of entering drug and alcohol rehab at a later age. These benefits extend far beyond the treatment of physical ailments.
Are You Too Old for Alcohol and Drug Rehab?
There may be more seniors in need of drug and alcohol rehab in California than many experts realize. A 2014 study compared rates of substance use disorder among various age groups and determined that substance abuse in senior citizens has likely been underdiagnosed for decades. Alcohol and prescription drugs are among the most commonly used substances by older Americans in need of a California alcohol and drug rehab, but the study also found that the U.S. has a larger population of older adults who use illicit substances than any other nation worldwide.
Several factors may account for this. First, older adults are more likely to suffer from physical ailments as discussed above. The resulting suffering of chronic pain and discomfort often leads to self-medicating. Additionally, those of advanced age have more life experience, which means they are more likely to have encountered some form of trauma in their lifetime. Many addicts and alcoholics use their substance of choice to escape from emotional disturbance, and older users are no exception.
Drug and alcohol rehab can help patients overcome these underlying causes. Not only will a facility with a strong medical staff help patients deal with physical issues, but the clinical team can provide relief from mental and emotional issues as well. Patients can receive trauma therapy and other necessary forms of therapeutic support to overcome issues that the user may have repressed or simply ignored while in active addiction. Not only should nobody consider themselves too old for a California alcohol and drug rehab, but those who perceive themselves as beyond help might benefit more than anyone else from receiving professional services.
Addiction in California
Older individuals in California are particularly at a disadvantage when it comes to substance use disorders. While a whopping 8 percent of Californians struggle with drug addiction, only 10 percent get the help they need. The California Health Care Foundation (CHCF) states that the majority of individuals struggling with addiction are 18 to 25. This means that the focus is on this age group.
For this reason and many more, the older population in California is dismissed. It might take them longer to get diagnosed with a substance use disorder. When they do, they might feel that they are too old to get help. They may find other reasons to not go like fear of worrying their children or asking them for money to help pay for a program.
Additionally, other factors may exacerbate a drug dependency in older Californians. CHFC found that men were more likely to develop an addiction, along with those who identified as American Indian/Native American. California has a lower rate of treatment for addiction, which makes the issue even worse.
Other issues may make it more difficult for an older individual in California to seek drug and alcohol rehab:
- They don’t have means of transportation to get to the facility
- An older Californian may not have health insurance or health insurance that covers rehab
- They’re stuck in their old ways for possibly decades or more
- It’s possible they live in a rural area
- Chronic relapse makes them feel they won’t be able to successfully complete treatment
Heroin rates have gone up over the years in California. This drug is difficult to kick the habit, especially when these factors exist. With this, 15 percent of admissions to a substance use disorder program were because of marijuana in 2015. Older populations in California have medical marijuana at their disposal if a health issue arises.
California Alcohol and Drug Rehab for All Ages
Phoenix Rising provides individualized treatment that identifies and accounts for the underlying causes of substance use disorder. Those who worry about being too old for alcohol and drug rehab will find that our facilities can offer the help they need to treat both physical ailments and emotional concerns. Furthermore, our dual diagnosis rehab facilities will help those with co-occurring disorders — whether related or unrelated to their age — achieve long-lasting recovery from all mental health issues.
One of our best alcohol and drug rehab facilities for alcoholics and addicts of advanced age is Phoenix Rising in California. Patients will find that the sheer sense of luxury and comfort provided at Phoenix Rising helps to facilitate an easier transition into a sober lifestyle. They will receive comprehensive care at all levels from detox to aftercare while enjoying the beautiful Californian scenery and participating in outside activities that allow them to pursue a more active lifestyle.
Therapies we provide that may appeal to older Californians:
- Cognitive behavioral therapy
- Dialectical behavior therapy
- Equine therapy
- Holistic therapy
- Experiential therapy
- Motivational enhancement therapy
- Family therapy
Patients at our facilities don’t just learn that they are not too old for alcohol and drug rehab in California. They learn that they aren’t too old to achieve just about any way of life that makes them truly happy. You or someone you love might be in need of positive change and an escape from the bonds of addiction. Contact us today for more information on our program of recovery.