New surveys indicate that the number of senior citizens who struggle with alcoholism and drug addiction is set to rise dramatically over the next decade. A possible explanation for this trend is that as people grow older and begin to retire they experience anxiety and depression due to this major change that can be difficult to accept.
News headlines regarding addiction, alcoholism and issues arising from alcohol problems tend to focus on young people. It is clear that the average age for an individual currently being admitted to an alcohol rehab clinic is around 25 - a great deal younger than it was 10 years ago. Statistics were released recently that suggested that the UK has more of a drinking problem than anywhere else in Europe and when we see the shame of Friday night binge drinkers we automatically put the blame at the feet of the younger generation. The older generation is often forgotten as far as having issues in the area of addiction and alcoholism.
Seniors may be suffering addiction issues
Three separate bodies this week have commented on the serious issue of addiction in seniors: Tampa Bay online (an American online news channel), Newsmax.com and the National Survey on drug use and health (again based in America). The fear is that individuals aged in their 60’s (and were originally baby boomers) are turning to drugs and alcohol to deal with the ever increasing oppressive economic climate. They are also likely to be at a phase in their lives when they are going through quite a powerful transition in the way they live. This is traditionally a time when individuals start to consider retirement, giving up work and considering what their value in the community will be. It is also a time when traditionally there is likely to be deaths of close elderly relations such as mothers and fathers.
Depression and Anxiety could be fuelling drug and alcohol use
Depression and anxiety is fueling both substance abuse and other behavioral addictions, such as hoarding and compulsive gambling, experts claim. In an interview by Newsmax.com, Dr. Barbara Krantz of the Hanley Center addiction treatment facility said “As Baby Boomers enter a transitional stage in their lives, these new stressors make them more prone to depression and anxiety” Tampa Bay online reported that American government statistics show that over three million seniors suffer from alcoholism or drug dependency. Because this is an aging society it is estimated that these figures will triple by 2020.
The National survey on drug use and health supported these figures when researchers declared that even though alcoholism still remains the most predominant addiction amongst seniors, drug abuse has increased by 3%.