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Adult Addiction

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Adult Addiction

Adult Addiction: Late on Set Drug Addiction and Alcoholism

Addiction is a complex disease that is identified as the incessant need to continue using drugs or alcohol without the ability to stop using, despite any negative consequences or detrimental health concerns that arise. Many adults across the country have developed a chemical dependency and require treatment, but unfortunately some adults lack the desire to get clean, whereas others are reluctant or fearful of the recovery process, as detox, withdrawal symptoms, and cravings can be severe and intolerable. Adult addiction is growing in American societies with the baby boomer experiencing struggles with both alcoholism and prescription drug addiction

What influences late on-set alcoholism and Drug Addiction in Adults?

  • Adults who experience a loss, are dealing with grief, feel as though they do not serve a purpose in life, or who feel secluded and lonely sometimes turn to drugs or alcohol to numb their emotional pain temporarily.
  • Many adults use drinking as a means to pass time after work or fulfill the unoccupied hours left in the day.
  • Some people who use alcohol or drugs believe that these substances can act as a substitute for the lack of love and affection in their life.

Indications of an Adult Addiction:

  • Drinking more often and in more amounts
  • Black outs
  • Health problems
  • Not put together, decrease in hygiene
  • Significant fluctuation in weight
  • Changes in mood and behaviors: irritable, aggressive, mood swings, anxiousness, depression
  • Signs of withdrawal — such as tremors — when not drinking
  • Absentmindedness
  • Becoming detached or pulling away from social life or hobbies they once enjoyed
  • Lying about how often they use
  • Hiding pills, alcohol, or paraphernalia
  • Becomes defensive when someone addresses or questions the use of drugs or alcohol, as well as their behavior
  • Experiences shakes or tremors when not drinking
  • Becomes irritable and lashes out when not using

Why adults often avoid treatment:

  • Identifying alcohol and drug abuse in older individuals can be more challenging, as some of these symptoms coincide with signs of getting older. An improper diagnosis is common due to insufficient training on substance use disorders that many physicians obtain.
  • Adults who lose a loved one may use drugs or alcohol to numb the pain, and if substance abuse was never a previous issue, they may consider this use as temporary or a phase.
  • Elderly individuals who are chemically dependent often isolate themselves off from loved ones, making the problem easier to hide. They often distinguish it as “one of their few pleasures in life”.
  • Older adults typically see a number of different health care providers. This makes it more difficult to see the addiction, and also makes it easier to acquire multiple medications.

How you can help your parent or significant other get help for their addiction:

  • It is important to not be judgmental when addressing the problem. It is common for addicts to become defensive and make excuses to distract your attention from the conversation. When confronting an addict without using criticism or showing disapproval, it is more likely that there will be better communication.
  • Consult with an addiction specialist or a professional interventionist for advice on how to address the addicted individual, or for help leading an intervention.
  • Make sure the conversation is open and honest. Show them that you are truly concerned and inform them of how their addiction is affecting them and everyone around them.
  • Prior to confronting and adult with an addiction, be sure to thoroughly research options for treatment, the best facilities in the area, and a program that emphasizes the needs of adult addicts.

Children of Adult Addicts

Children often suffer the most in a family addiction as they can develop there own struggles with drug abuse and alcoholism later in life and face difficulties connecting with others their age due to problems at home. The children in a house hold where addicted parents live are often forced to grow up faster than usual to take on the role of the absent parent. Additionally they feel the need to fix the family or hide the troubles at home from outsiders such as teachers, friends, and other family members. These traits can carry on to adulthood. 

Adult Children of Addicts

Most adult children of drug or alcohol addicts find at some point in their life they will see the need to speak with a counselor or therapist for troubles with relationships, family, and personal struggles. Adult children of addicts may develop addictions of their own or struggle with admitting and owning feelings or emotions such as sadness, love, and will often find themselves detached. Many adult children of addicts project their feelings as to not focus on themselves and “find projects” to avoid confronting their own problems or issues. They may find that they have relationship problems, trouble with friends, and difficulty with feelings of abandonment. 

Almost half of the residents living in nursing homes have issues with alcohol, and adults are just as likely to be hospitalized for problems relating to alcohol as they are for heart attacks. This is a detailed representation on how serious of a matter adult addiction truly is. Although tackling the problem and getting adults into treatment can be challenging, it is absolutely necessary. It is important to be alert and look for any possible signs of an addiction being present in an adult. Adult addiction is a severe problem, but with the right treatment, it can be stopped. If you suspect that someone you love is dependent on drugs or alcohol, pick up the phone and speak with an addiction specialist today.

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