Rarely do we think that our elderly population has an issue with addiction. However, the reality is that no one is immune from developing an addiction. Addiction doesn’t discriminate, the young, middle-aged, all have the ability to develop a substance abuse problem. Reports have found that approximately 17% of individuals who are older than 60 years of age are addicted to alcohol or drugs. 

The Elderly And Substance Abuse Disorder

The body’s ability to properly function decreases as we age. This puts the elderly at higher risk for disease and health issues than younger individuals. When drugs or alcohol are added into the mix, the elderly will feel the degrading effects much more than a younger person. The effects can become devastating quickly in an older individual because the ability to metabolize drugs and alcohol is significantly decreased. Additionally, an older brain is much more sensitive to ingesting alcohol and drugs.

As a whole, the older population takes in much more medicine on a regular basis than younger age groups. The risk for prescription medication abuse is then a serious risk and a leading cause of addiction for mature adults. It is not uncommon to see chronic pain as we age, and when opioids are used in a treatment plan it is important that we recognize the danger they pose. While some individuals will take opioid medications and not develop an addiction, others may not. That is why it is always important to be cognizant of the strength of these medications.

Another issue that can lead older individuals to addiction is loneliness. When a partner dies or an individual is losing more friends and loved ones it can be difficult to cope with. Sadness in saying goodbye to loved ones and then living a less social lifestyle can take its toll and cause a person to begin drinking to help with the pain.

How Can You Identify Substance Abuse Disorder In An Older Loved One?

How The Elderly Can Become Addicted To Drugs Or AlcoholIt isn’t as straightforward as it may seem to determine when an older individual is suffering from an addiction. Differentiating between if their behavior is a result of their age or the result of drugs or alcohol is tricky. There are many cases where an older person who is suffering from addiction is never correctly diagnosed and the issue is not properly addressed.  Specifically, when an older adult lives alone and does not have frequent visitors, they can be easily overlooked.

Anyone suffering from addiction deserves the ability to heal and recover. We all deserve to live healthy, happy, and decent lives. The elderly are no different, and they can benefit from a treatment program if they are struggling with an addiction to drugs or alcohol.

The detox alternative treatment center at Discovery Place can help you overcome your addiction. Located near Nashville, our Burns, Tennessee alternative treatment center offers serenity and peace as it is situated on 17 beautiful acres of open rolling farmland. Call the Tennessee detox alternative treatment center at Discovery Place anytime at 1-800-725-0922.


  • Discovery Place was the answer for my son. He did the 90 day and then the step down program and sober living. We give this organization 10 stars. They met my son where he was …emotionally, mentally, physically. They helped him put his life back on track. Discovery Place employees care about their guests. If your son, brother, nephew, grandson or husband needs excellent supportive care THIS is indeed the facility.

    Kim Morton
    Alumni Parent
  • I have remained sober and it is because of DP. DP is the best place there is, hands down. I keep everyone there in my prayers, and I encourage everyone there to take what they are practicing and do it in their lives, after.

    Roy Mantelli
  • Over the past year, I’ve been putting into actin what Discovery Place taught me, and I have experienced a complete perspective change of the world, and the people in it. I get to be a man of service and love today, and for that I am grateful to Discovery Place.

    Matt Kassay
  • Discovery Place means the world to me. They showed me the tools that I’ve tried to use everyday in my life to think less often of myself, and more frequently of others. I am learning to lend a hand when I am able and to have a honest and humble relationship with God and the people around me. Not only am I clean and sober, but also I am happy and fulfilled.

    Tommy Parker
  • Discovery Place and the men who work there made recovery attractive, and more importantly, fun. There is strength in the struggle. I am forever grateful for my time at Discovery Place.

    Creed McClellan
  • When I got to Discovery Place my whole life was in shambles, but I didn’t know it. I spent 6 months in their programs, participating in all three phases, and was met with kindness and love all along the way. It is unbelievable to me, where I am now relative to where I was when I arrived at DP.

    Lance Duke
  • I can never say enough good things about Discovery Place and the people who work there. Before checking in to DP, I was out of options and out of answers. Fortunately, Discovery Place has a solution. Taking suggestions from the staff at DP saved my life, and as a result, I’m now more content and hopeful about life. I’m grateful for Discovery Place showing me how to live a healthy life so that I can become a better man and help the next guy.”

    Tyler Buckingham

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