What's In This Article?
Drug and alcohol abuse among Baby Boomers is on the rise, and due to the additional challenges of treating addiction in middle-aged people and seniors, many senior-specific rehab centers are currently oversubscribed.
Read on to discover why Boomers are increasingly getting addicted to alcohol and drugs – including prescription drugs and hard drugs, like heroin and marijuana – and to learn about the additional challenges of treating addiction in the older demographic.
Alcohol & Drugs Abuse Among Boomers
Many people are surprised to learn that Boomers take drugs for recreational purposes just like young Americans, and in some cases, Boomers are more likely to abuse drugs and alcohol than Gen Xers and Millennials, for example.
One of the reasons for this is the time which many Boomers grew up in. Many were teenagers in the 1960s and 1970s when views on alcoholism and recreational drug use were far more relaxed than they are today, so it’s perhaps not surprising that some Baby Boomers are open to trying new drugs and are not taking alcoholism seriously enough.
Depression and loneliness among Boomers and the elderly are also responsible for this trend, as many people turn to drugs and alcohol when battling such conditions. There are many reasons why middle aged Americans and seniors may suffer from depression, anxiety and loneliness.
For example, their spouse may have recently passed away, or they may not be close with their family, or they may feel like their life has no purpose once they enter retirement.
Baby Boomers Reluctant to Go to Rehab
Everyone is understandably reluctant to go to rehab to some extent, but when it comes to Boomers getting treatment for drugs and alcohol addiction, there are additional obstacles in their path.
Firstly, as mentioned earlier, some Boomers have pretty relaxed views on drinking excessive amounts of alcohol and experimenting with drugs, so it’s often difficult for them to identify that they have a problem and to seek help, even if a loved one is supporting them.
Furthermore, they may be preoccupied with the other health conditions they have and may therefore consider addiction to be something not worth bringing to the attention of a doctor.
Baby Boomers should try to get treated for substance abuse as soon as possible. This is the case for anyone suffering from drugs or alcohol addiction, irrespective of their age, but, as Boomers are at an increased risk of overdosing, it’s especially for them to get to help quickly so they can overcome their addiction.
The reason Boomers are at an increased risk of overdosing on drugs is because as we age, our body takes longer to break down drugs and alcohol. This essentially means that the same strength or amount of a drug is on average more potent and dangerous for a Boomer than it is for a Gen Xer or a Millennial.
To learn more about the treatment options available to Boomers and to find a trusted rehab center near, check out our guide on treating substance abuse.
Addiction is a growing issue in the US, but it is treatable, so the most important thing is to identify it early on – either by yourself or with the support of a friend or family member – and to seek help.
As discussed, there are extra challenges for Boomers and seniors when it comes to getting treated, but they are not insurmountable – and there are plenty of cases of older Americans being successfully treated for all sorts of addiction, from heroin to prescription opioids to alcohol.
The first step is recognizing that you have a problem and making a conscious decision to overcome it so you don’t run the risk of becoming another tragic statistic.
A Quick Summary
- Drug and alcohol abuse is on the rise among most demographics in the US, including Baby Boomers and seniors.
- There are many reasons why Boomers are increasingly taking drugs recreationally and abusing opioids and alcohol.
- For example, the fact that they were adolescents and teens in a time when people were more open to experimenting with drugs means that some Boomers are now still willing to take drugs recreationally.
- Depression, anxiety and loneliness among Boomers, especially those who are retired or living alone, is also responsible for this worrying trend.
- Baby Boomers are typically more reluctant than younger Americans to go rehab or to even have a conversation with a doctor about their addiction.
- This is because they may not even realize that they have an issue, or because they have other health conditions which seem more important to them.
- There are several senior-specific rehab centers out there which can help you tackle your addiction and get your life back.