Community Blog

Understanding Prescription Drug Abuse Among the Elderly

By Vicki and Brian Day

Elderly Care in Bath PA

With age comes the increased amount of prescription drugs needed to sustain a healthy life. The large amount of pills many elderly adults need can easily be abused by either the owner of the prescription medications or family or friends. Although these drugs are used to help seniors manage their chronic health problems, it can be problematic to their health if taken in excess and when it is not needed. Some of the most common drugs that are abused includes anxiety, depression, sleep, and pain medications.

There are a number of things you and other family members need to understand about this type of drug abuse in order to help your loved one battle their addiction.

Watch for Symptoms

If you or an elderly care provide notice any of the following symptoms, prescription drug abuse could be a problem.

Opioid Painkillers

  • Nausea
  • Constipation
  • Slowed breathing rate
  • Confusion
  • Drowsiness
  • Increased pain with higher doses
  • Poor coordination
  • Feeling high

Anti-Anxiety Medications and Sedatives

  • Unable to walk steadily
  • Being drowsy
  • Confusion
  • Dizziness
  • Slurred speech
  • Unable to concentrate
  • Loss of memory
  • Slowed breathing

Stimulants

  • High body temperature
  • Lack of appetite
  • Agitation
  • Insomnia
  • Irregular heartbeat
  • High blood pressure
  • Paranoia
  • Anxiety

If you have noticed these and other possible symptoms, talk to the senior’s doctor about prescription drug abuse.

Causes

Each person has their own reason for abusing their medications. Some of the most common ones are:

  • The need to feel high
  • To become more relaxed
  • To reduce appetite
  • To feel accepted in social situations
  • To experiment with the mental effects of the medication
  • To increase concentration or alertness

Treatment

Even if you are slightly concerned that your aging loved one is abusing their prescriptions, these concerns should be addressed with the elder’s doctor who prescribed the medication. They will be able to help you come up with a solution to end this abuse by using certain methods, such as substituting their current medication with another one.

Addiction is a serious illness and one that should be treated as soon as possible in order to prevent the condition from getting worse. Addiction counseling can help the elder overcome their need to overuse certain pills. Their doctor will be able to help you and your loved one find the right treatment for their situation.

Source:
http://familydoctor.org/familydoctor/en/diseases-conditions/prescription-drug-abuse-in-the-elderly.html

IF YOU OR AN AGING LOVED ONE ARE CONSIDERING ELDERLY CARE IN BATH, PA, PLEASE CONTACT THE CARING STAFF AT HOME HELPERS. CALL TODAY! (610) 365-4266.