risk factors for substance use in elderly people

What Are the Risk Factors for Substance Use in Elderly People?

Elderly people are abusing drugs and alcohol in greater numbers all around the world. Both early and late onset substance usage are possible; some people begin abusing substances for the first time in their later years, possibly as a result of a stressful event like a spouse passing away or a medical condition. The use of drugs or alcohol by the elderly can lead to a variety of detrimental outcomes, such as impaired mental and physical health, stress in the family and community, legal issues, and overdose deaths.

Though few individuals are aware of it or can assist elderly people, this is a major concern for them. To address this issue, we will discuss here the risk factors for drug and alcohol abuse in older adults and the need for treatment to prevent these problems and maintain older adults’ health and well-being.

1. Diagnosis Challenges:

Diagnosing substance use disorders in older people might pose a challenge. Older people are more likely to become dependent by mistake than teenagers or young adults, who are more likely to want to get high. Furthermore, an assessment of cognitive impairment rather than a substance use disorder may be made due to stereotypes about older persons, which include memory loss, disorientation, despair, agitation, difficulty with motor functions, and hate. Moreover, older persons are not usually employed, enrolled in school, or responsible for taking care of children; hence, these impairments would not be included in a diagnosis of substance use disorder.

2. Lack of resources

Obstacles encompass unfavorable attitudes from carers and providers. Ignorance regarding diagnosis and treatment by patients and carers, and the refusal to acknowledge the existence of an issue. Barriers, including transportation and home care, finances, and new technology like smartphone applications. Can still exist even after an older adult and their provider have recognized serious substance use. In addition to someone to look after their living area while they get services. Older persons may require help getting to and from therapy. This includes doing important tasks like picking up the mail and taking care of pets.

3. Chronic health conditions:

Many older adults have long-term medication needs for conditions like diabetes, heart disease, or arthritis. However, it might be dangerous to take numerous medications concurrently. As they may not cooperate properly or may have unfavorable side effects. Older adults may overindulge in drinks or medication in an attempt to relieve their discomfort or stress about their health issues. However, doing so may exacerbate the situation and increase the likelihood that they will develop a substance dependency issue.

4. Treatment

Compared to younger citizens, older adults have a lower likelihood of receiving accurate substance use treatment. It’s critical to recognize and distinguish between the signs of substance abuse and normal aging because people who confuse symptoms for stress or chronic illnesses may be less likely to receive treatment, services, or referrals.

When it comes to assisting senior citizens with their substance usage, California detox programs are crucial. Individuals may turn to drugs or alcohol for a variety of reasons as they age, such as loneliness, pain management, or retirement adjustment. However, treatments from them offer individualized care and support for older people to recover from their substance use problems.

5. Cultural and Generational Factors:

An individual’s background and age can have an impact on their attitudes about drug and alcohol use. It’s acceptable to use certain medications or consume more alcohol in some situations or groups than in others. Furthermore, older adults who were raised in an era when drug abuse was taboo may not see their issues or the need for assistance. This may make it more difficult for them to acquire the support they require to cut back on their drug or alcohol use.


The demographic of older people struggling with substance abuse is no different from any other group. To enhance the prevention and treatment of substance use disorders for all patients, particularly older patients, there is still much work to be done.


We can help older individuals maintain their health and happiness as they age if we assist them with these issues and provide them with excellent support. We have the power to improve their lives and lessen the harm that alcohol and drug addiction can do to them and their families. Prioritizing the prevention of these issues is significantly crucial. In this manner, we can provide for the needs of our elderly population and improve their standard of living.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *