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Q: Is alcohol and substance abuse a problem for seniors?

Posted September 10, 2014 in Advice Column, Greene County

A: September 2014 marks the 25th year for National Recovery Month that promotes the societal benefits of prevention, treatment and recovery from mental and substance abuse disorders. This year’s theme is “Join the Voices for Recovery: Speak Up, Reach Out.” Recovery Month is a national observance that educates Americans on the fact that addiction treatment and mental health services can enable those with a mental disorder and/or substance abuse to live a healthy and rewarding life.

Recovery from these conditions can relieve your hypertension, diabetes, asthma, mental disorders,and heart disease later in life. Substance abuse, particularly of alcohol and prescription drugs among adults aged 60 and older, is one of the fastest growing health problems facing the country. Some adult children take the approach of “Grandma’s cocktails are the only things that make her happy,” or “They won’t be around much longer, what’s the harm?” The reality is that abuse of alcohol and drugs takes a greater toll on older adults that also increases psychosocial issues. Aging ushers in biomedical changes that influence the effects of alcohol and drugs on the body. In addition, alcohol may elevate older adults’ already at a high risk for injury, illness and socioeconomic decline.

The continued abuse can elevate health care services earlier on in life and people are living longer, therefore health care costs rise for a longer period of time per person. For more information on National Recovery Month and how you can participate on the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) at www.recoverymonth.gov.

Information provided by Toni Linberg, director of marketing, Regency Park Nursing and Rehab, 100 Ram Drive, Jefferson, (515) 386-4107.

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