The initial wave of the baby boomer generation turned 65 years old in 2011. Currently, older adults make up 30% of the population in the United States. The rates of older adults are increasing, and so too are the rates of alcoholism and addiction among the older generation. However, many older adults are unwilling to seek treatment because of their age and the stigma associated with addiction. According to a 2015 journal article in the Clinics in Geriatric Medicine entitled Substance Abuse Among Older Adults, as of 2002, among individuals aged 65 and older, 1.2 percent met the criteria for alcohol abuse and 0.24 percent met the criteria for alcohol dependence. However, these numbers may be quite lower than the actual statistic because of underreporting of heavy drinking among older adults. Between 2002 and 2012, rates of substance abuse among individuals aged 50 to 65 increased from 1.9-3.4 percent to3.6-7.2 percent. According to the report, “in 2012, 19.3% of adults aged 65 years and older reported having ever used illicit drugs in their lifetime, whereas 47.6% of adults between 60 and 64 years of age reported lifetime drug use.” Furthermore, 11.7 percent of those that used illicit substances met the criteria for substance use disorder. Changes in health, lifestyle, work, stress, loss of mobility, increased physical pain and loneliness are all factors that can lead an older adult into drug and alcohol use. One of the problems with older adults receiving treatment is that they are less likely to seek help and addiction problems are often misdiagnosed. The symptoms of alcoholism and drug dependence often mimic those of behavioral problems that come with age and “many patients are not adequately screened due either to lack of training on the part of physicians or bias that alcoholism and addiction are not worth treating in this population,” according to the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence. Other factors, such as social stigma, shame, and different quality of life expectations may impede one’s ability to reach out for help. In truth, all people, regardless of age, are deserving of the highest quality of life possible. Often achieving this requires that one recognize and address any problems they may have with addiction and alcoholism.
Your quality of life doesn’t have to be diminished as a result of addiction and alcoholism. You can make the brave decision to seek help now and embark upon the rewarding journey of recovery. Oceanfront Recovery, a licensed substance abuse disorder and dual-diagnosis treatment center in the heart of beautiful Laguna Beach, offers individualized treatment designed to follow a continuum of care intended to address the individual needs to each client and to support re-integration into independent living. For more information, please call today: (877) 279-1777