The University at Buffalo Research Institute on Addictions has released a report on detecting and addressing substance use problems in older adults, as part of its Expert Summary series.
The two-page summary discusses reasons why alcohol and drug use problems in the elderly often remain unnoticed, including that symptoms such as increasing fatigue and diminishing cognitive ability often are mistaken for dementia, depression or other problems. The summary also offers advice for effective intervention (suggesting that a very small group of loved ones participate) and treatment (advising non-confrontational approaches that link to medical care and that focus on rebuilding the patient's support network).
The text of the summary, Substance Abuse in Older Adults: A Hidden Probelem, also distinguishes the characteristics of long-term substance users who have reached their mid-60s and individuals who began to have problems with substances late in life, often to cope with stressors associated with aging.
Addiction Professional on Nov. 19 at 1 p.m. Eastern time will present a webinar on addressing alcohol and drug issues in older adults, featuring John Dyben, director of older adult treatment services at Hanley Center.