According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), five out of every six people age 65 or older are prescribed and taking at least one medication, and half of the elderly population in America are taking three or more medications. Additionally, over half of the elderly population throughout the country are medication non-compliant, which means that these seniors fail or refuse compliance to necessary medications and/or that the elderly patient does not take the prescribed medication or followed the prescribed course of treatment.
Causes of Medication Mismanagement in the Elderly
Some of the more common causes of medication mismanagement within the elderly population are:
- Memory loss
- Vision or hearing problems
- Physical limitations or issues such as swallowing
- Social isolation (studies demonstrate that the elderly who live alone more often have medication mismanagement issues or fail to comply with prescribed medication protocols.) There is even a greater chance of medication mismanagement if the elderly person suffers from mental health or psychiatric issues.
Prescription drug abuse or misuse is fairly common, and when combined with medication mismanagement issues within the elderly population, can often lead to addiction. Older adults are among the most vulnerable populations to have medication mismanagement issues, and because of this, are at a greater risk to develop substance use disorder or addiction issues. Some of the reasons for this are: older adults are more likely to experience more problems with relatively small amounts of medications because of increased medication sensitivity and slower metabolisms; higher risks due to conditions such as pain, sleep disorders/insomnia, and anxiety; at a greater use for being prescribed addictive medications or psychoactive medications.
Because so many elderly people are prescribed numerous medications, there is also a higher tendency to mix dangerous medications with alcohol, forget that they’ve taken a dose of medication and thus accidentally double on the prescribed amount of a medication, or incorrectly take medications due to inability to remember which prescribed medication is meant to treat which medical condition. All of these issues can lead to abuse, misuse, dependency or addiction.
A greater danger for the older adult population is the misuse of medication, in turn, can lead to additional medical ailments. Seizures, falls, bruising, and/or broken bones are all common in the elderly population that are misusing or abusing medication. This is an even greater risk for seniors that live alone in isolation. Isolation can also often lead to loneliness and disconnection, which can turn medication mismanagement purposeful, meaning the senior is purposefully taking medication not as prescribed to induce a desired effect or euphoria in order to escape the feelings of loneliness. As with all other members of the population, older adults are at risk of addiction due to mismanagement of medications, and therefore should receive detox and treatment in order to overcome their issues. However, perhaps even more so than younger people, older adults are in need of 24/7 medical care to detox, due to the physical limitations that they may have or the medical complications that can occur during withdrawal.
If you or someone you know needs help for addiction or co-occurring disorders, please give us a call. Innovo Detox offers the latest in evidence-based medical, psychiatric, and clinical care for those in need of detox and medical stabilization in Pennsylvania and the surrounding Mid-Atlantic area. If we aren’t the best fit for you or a loved one, we will take the necessary time to work with you to find a detox, rehab, treatment center or provider that better fits your needs. Please give us a call at (717) 619-3260 or email our team at [email protected]. For more information on our company or services, please visit our website at www.innovodetox.com.