The Annals of Epidemiology forecasted that the rates of prescription drug abuse among people aged 50 and older would increase by 190% from 2001 to 2020. In 2001, the prescription drug abuse rate among people over 50 was around 911,000, so the projected rate in 2020 is over 2.7 million seniors. Another startling fact regarding elderly prescription drug abuse among comes from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services, which states that out of 184,000 Americans who sought treatment for drug abuse in 2005, over 10 percent were above the age of 50.
This is dangerous, because prescription drug abuse harms people no matter their age. Drug abuse easily causes problems like addiction, mental health issues, accidents, injuries and irreversible health damage. However, the consequences of prescription drug abuse are even more severe for seniors, because it is more difficult for an aged body to eliminate dangerous toxins. The liver, which is largely responsible for processing medication, becomes weaker with age, and elderly individuals also have slower metabolic processes. This means that a senior citizen’s body is less able to rid itself of drugs, and it has a slower filtering process. As a result, drugs may remain in the body for longer periods of time, produce more intense effects and create chemical dependency faster than they would in a younger person. Unfortunately, health declines as people age, and seniors often seek prescription drugs to manage physical and mental health conditions they may struggle with.
Why Seniors Abuse Alprazolam
Alprazolam is a benzodiazepine that acts as a sedative. It is primarily prescribed to treat anxiety issues, panic disorder, insomnia and acute stress from trauma. For elderly people, issues like these are common, as they may face declining health, retiring, isolation, losing loved ones, moving into assisted living and other issues. In response, many seniors are prescribed not just one, but multiple prescriptions drugs to manage pain, chronic conditions, mental health issues and more. With lowered tolerance levels and weakened metabolic functioning, seniors can develop a physical addiction quite quickly. When trying to discontinue alprazolam use, a senior may experience rebound effects, where symptoms of anxiety or insomnia are even more persistent than before. This may occur because the individual has grown to rely on the drug to feel calm. Long-term alprazolam use can cause physical dependence and psychological addiction.
Rehab for a Senior Citizen Addicted to Alprazolam
Prescription drug abuse and addiction among the elderly is a major concern. In response to this, several treatment centers specialize in the needs of senior citizens, which allows these addicts to address their medical conditions and mental health issues without risking further drug abuse, overdose or relapse. It is never too late to get addiction help.
For help finding addiction treatment that specializes in senior citizens with drug addictions, call our toll-free helpline. Our addiction counselors are available 24 hours a day to assist you; they can answer your questions, address your concerns and provide information on treatment options. Call and speak with an addiction counselor today to begin treatment as soon as possible.