Helping Older Adults with Substance Abuse Issues

substance abuse older adults1The professional staff at Gateway Foundation Alcohol & Drug Treatment design innovative, effective and affordable drug rehab and alcohol treatment to serve the special needs of older adults, 55 and older and their families.

The signs of alcohol abuse and medication dependence in adults 55 and older are different from a younger person. They often drink at home alone so no one notices the severity of the substance abuse.

Many older adults or seniors are retired, so they don’t have work-related problems due to alcohol or drug abuse. They drive less, so there’s less opportunity for them to get arrested for driving under the influence

Aging, Disease and Substance Abuse

Many of the symptoms listed below are attributed to other diseases or are considered part of the aging process. However, many older adults find that once they achieve sobriety, these symptoms disappear.

Older Adult Substance Abuse Test

The following signs and symptoms are typical of older adults or seniors requiring drug rehab or alcohol treatment:

Please answer every question. If a question is not applicable, select No.

Yes No
Drinks alone, hidden from others.
Drinks alone, hidden from others. Makes a ritual of having drinks before, with or after dinner. Becomes annoyed when this ritual is disturbed.
Has lost interest in activities and hobbies that used to bring pleasure.
Drinks in spite of warning labels on prescription drugs.
Suffers from alcohol-related health problems.
Has bottles of tranquilizers on hand and takes them at the slightest sign of disturbance.
Is often intoxicated or slightly tipsy, and sometimes has slurred speech.
Suffers from tremors and shakes.
Drinks despite health problems.
Frequently expresses a wish to die
Often has the smell of liquor on his or her breath or uses mouthwash to disguise it.
Is neglecting personal appearance and gaining or losing weight.
Complains of constant sleeplessness, loss of appetite or chronic health problems that seem to have no physical cause.
Has unexplained burns or bruises and tries to hide them.
Neglects home, bills, pets, etc.
Can’t handle routine chores and paperwork without making mistakes.
Has irrational or undefined fears and delusions, or seems under unusual stress.
Seems to be losing his or her memory.
Appears to be depressed.
Has problems with urinary incontinence.
Suffers from heart arrhythmia.

Answering “yes” to 2 or more questions above may indicate a problem with alcohol or drugs.

For help or to schedule a free confidential screening, call 877-505-HOPE (877-505-4673).

About Gateway Foundation Alcohol & Drug Treatment Centers
Every year Gateway Foundation Alcohol & Drug Treatment helps thousands of adults and teens get their life back on track and gives renewed hope to those who care about them. With 50 years of treatment experience, our specialists take the time to understand of the specific needs of each individual. We then develop a customized treatment plan with recommendations for the most appropriate care based on an individual's substance abuse and mental health history. As the largest provider of alcohol and drug abuse treatment in Illinois, Gateway has 11 treatment centers throughout the state. Gateway outpatient and residential substance abuse treatment programs are not one-size fits all, but unique treatment plans that give an individual the highest chance for a successful outcome. With insurance acceptance and a track record of success, Gateway Treatment Centers help thousands of individual’s successfully complete treatment each year, and find the hope they need to live again.

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