Prescription Drugs And Addiction in Seniors
When someone says the word, “addict,” most people automatically picture some junkie with a needle in his arm or a woman with rotting teeth sucking on a glass pipe. But addiction has the propensity to affect at least fifteen percent of the population. And Seniors are not exempt from its clutches. Ailments and chronic pain issues usually go hand in hand with aging. And with those ailments, a person can expect a medicine cabinet full of prescription drugs. So many, in fact, that unless you keep an up-to-date list, it could be quite confusing trying to figure out which pill is for which ailment. But along with that seemingly bottomless medicine cabinet of pills can come a much bigger problem: addiction.
There is a delicate balance that doctors and Seniors have to find with prescription pills. If they are being used to manage pain or treat a chronic condition, they are necessary. And it is highly likely that over time, with daily usage, the patient will develop a tolerance and need more medicine than they required previously. But how much is too much? And how can a doctor, or caregiver, know when a Senior is addicted?
Unfortunately, for most Seniors, by the time their addiction is noticed, they have already gotten to the stage of using multiple doctors and/or pharmacies to fill their prescriptions. And if they are already doing this, it is hard to know exactly how many bottles or prescriptions are floating around. So, even if the Senior’s primary care physician keeps a very close eye on their usage, that doesn’t mean they cannot get more pills elsewhere.
Just as with any addiction, the only person who can truly end it, is the addict themselves. Until a person wants to stop, they will not stop. Doctors and caregivers can try to control the flow of medicine, but ultimately, it is the choice of the individual.