Drug Addiction, Facts About Addiction, Families & Addiction, Substance Abuse  |  May 25, 2016

At present count – there are over 35 million Americans aged 65 or older.

Did you know that fully 17% of them are addicted to either drugs and/or alcohol?

And that rate is expected to double by the year 2020.


What in the world is causing this sharp rise in addiction rates among our parents?  Researchers have begun to investigate that question – and they are finding two leading causes:

Let’s look at each one separately.

Loneliness can kill us.  There is a clear association between the strength of social relationships and mortality rates.  Isolate an elderly person for extended periods of time and you will almost always see a rise in disease and death rates.

What causes the increase?  Researchers believe the cause is strongly tied to depression.  Elderly that live without human interaction face very high risks for depression and despair.  And with depression and despair comes the urge to medicate away that emotional pain.  Addiction to drugs and/or alcohol often follows.

What about poly-pharmacy?

Poly-pharmacy is the practice, almost universally followed by physicians in America, of prescribing multiple drugs to patients for daily consumption.  Mix this regrettable prescribing pattern with chronic pain that often accompanies the aging process and you have a huge problem.  The combined killers of unintended opioid addiction – and adverse drug reactions.

The sad thing is that addiction among our elderly is often overlooked - the symptoms observed assumed to be those of “normal” aging (e.g., memory loss and declining motor skills).

That’s where programs like Aware Recovery Care come into play.  Aware Recovery Care has created a unique model of treatment – one that brings intensive care right to the home.  Under the supervision of addiction specialists that include addiction psychiatrists, registered nurses and recovery coaches, elderly struggling with addiction to drugs and/or alcohol receive the attention they need to recover their lives.  Learn more here: www.awarerecoverycare.com

Photo credit: premus via Hackers / CC BY