Am I Too Old for Opiate Addiction Recovery?

Am I Too Old for Opiate Addiction Recovery?

Too Old for Opiate Addiction Recovery?

When a person has suffered for years from addiction to drugs or alcohol, they often wonder if recovery is even possible. This is especially the case when that addict is an aging adult. The older population faces additional challenges in recovery. For example, when older adults are addicted to opiates due to use for chronic pain, they may be challenged in recovery as they once again face the physical pain the opiates had previously treated. However, opiate addiction is very dangerous, particularly for this age group. As with all substances, opiate addiction can be overcome through treatment, even by the older population.

Dangers of Addiction for Older Adults

While addiction is dangerous at all ages, older adults face a separate set of risks than their younger counterparts. As the body ages, the volume of water held in the blood is reduced. Because of this, the concentration of a drug in the bloodstream is higher for aging adults than for younger populations, even when taking the same dose. Higher concentration leads to stronger intended effects and side effects. The risk of overdose is also a higher concern for older adults who are abusing opiates or other substances.

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Substance abuse, especially with opiates, puts older addicts at risk for falls and accidents. The effects of opiate abuse, including lack of coordination and sedation have, in many cases, been associated with elderly falls. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), falls are the leading cause of injury or death for those over the age of 65. Even when falls are not fatal they can result in bone fractures, head trauma, and lacerations.

Pain Relief Alternatives

Due to the risk of such great consequences, elderly adults who suffer from opiate addiction should strongly consider seeking treatment. However, these older adults often fear that after treatment, they will not be able to cope with the physical pain which initiated the opiate use. This fear prevents many older adults from addressing the reality of their addiction and seeking treatment. Fortunately, there are many other ways to treat pain, both pharmacologic and non-pharmacologic.

Other pharmacologic treatments for pain include other less addictive medications, such as paracetamol and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). Paracetamol, more commonly known as acetaminophen, is a widely available over-the-counter painkiller. NSAIDs, such as aspirin and ibuprofen, may also be found over-the-counter and are the most frequently prescribed medications for chronic pain. Both of these classes of painkillers are considered less addictive and less dangerous than opiates.

Alternative therapies are available options for those seeking to reduce pain through non-pharmacologic means. Some of the most well recognized alternative treatments for pain include acupuncture, yoga, and meditation. Many yoga poses have been established to relieve aches and pains, while meditation has shown to reduce sensitivity to pain.

Get Help for Opiate Addiction

If you or someone you know struggles from opiate addiction, please call our toll free number today. Our admissions coordinators are available 24 hours a day to answer any questions you might have about treatments for opiate addiction.