Find Senior Rehab Centers Near Me for Addiction Recovery
Although the misuse of drugs is often associated with younger people, it can also be common in older populations. In fact, recent data reports that 1 million adults over the age of 65 in the U.S. have a substance use disorder (SUD), which may lead some older adults to seek senior rehab.1
Due to the social and physical changes that accompany aging, there could be older populations may be more vulnerable to substance misuse, particularly because many older adults take prescription medications that may have addictive potential.1
If you or a loved one are an older adult who thinks they may be struggling with substance misuse, senior rehabs are available to help. This important article will help you understand more about addiction in older populations, what to look for, and what to look for in senior rehab facilities.
What is Addiction Rehab for Senior Citizens?
Addiction treatment for seniors focuses on the unique needs of older adults. Like any other type of addiction treatment, it’s important to find senior rehabs that provide individualized care to treat the whole person, not just the substance misused.
Seniors may encounter specific challenges when entering treatment. Addressing the following needs during treatment may be particularly helpful for seniors:1
- Chronic health conditions (diabetes, hypertension, chronic pain)
- Medication management for health conditions
- Nutritional needs
- Mental health concerns related to loneliness, isolation, or untreated mental health disorders
- Physical mobility
- Establishing strong social support
- Education about the proper use of prescription medications
While there is not as much known about effective addiction treatment for seniors, there is research that shows longer-term care may be beneficial in older populations.1
Recognizing Addiction in Older Adults
Sometimes, people may confuse signs of substance misuse in seniors with other conditions like dementia or Alzheimer’s.2 That makes it even more important to know common symptoms of drug or alcohol misuse so that you or a loved one know when to seek help.
Knowing what medications a person is important because senior adults often take prescription drug medications, which may have certain side effects or interactions.2 If a person is taking multiple medications and/or combining with alcohol, it could be potentially dangerous.2
A few signs of substance misuse in seniors include:2
- Difficulty focusing or concentrating.
- Falling more frequently or feeling clumsy.
- Changes in mood toward irritability.
- Depression and/or anxiety.
- Neglecting hygiene.
- Troubles sleeping and drowsiness.
- Slurred speech.
It may also be helpful to know the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (5th edition) criteria for SUDs, which doctors use to diagnose substance use disorders. This may help you or a loved one more easily identify potential issues with substance misuse. If you have experienced 2 or more of the following in the past 12 months, you may consider senior rehab:3
- Continuing substance use even after knowing that it has caused or worsened a physical or mental health condition.
- Reducing or quitting favorite activities or hobbies because of substance use.
- Experiencing withdrawal when substance use stops.
- Having strong cravings for the substance.
- Unable to reduce or stop using the substance despite wanting to.
- Need to use more of the substance to feel its desired effects.
- Unable to stop taking the substance even when substance misuse causes or worsens personal or professional relationships.
- Spending excessive time getting or using the substance, or recovering from using it.
- Struggling to maintain responsibilities at home, school, or work because of substance use.
- Taking more of the substance or using it for longer durations than intended.
- Substance misuse continues even in situations where it can be physically harmful, like driving a car.
Addiction Causes in Seniors
The causes of addiction in older people, like people of any age, aren’t entirely clear, but may include a combination of genetics and environment.4 Additionally, seniors may be more at risk for substance misuse because they often suffer from one or more chronic illnesses, which require the use of potentially addictive prescription medications.1
For some older adults, the misuse of drugs and alcohol is a continuation of patterns that developed years earlier. Substance misuse may also develop as a form of trying to cope with the changes and stress that can accompany the aging process.
Older individuals often have additional changes and stresses regarding how their bodies function. As a person ages, their bodies don’t absorb substances like drugs or alcohol in the same way, leading to potentially more dramatic effects.1 The following risk factors can increase an older person’s chance for developing a SUD:1
- Living alone.
- Family history of substance misuse.
- Mental health issues.
- Substance misuse earlier in life.
- Chronic pain.
- Grief and loss.
- Sudden change in the living environment.
Senior Rehab Facilities: Inpatient and Outpatient Addiction Treatment
Finding the right senior rehab for addiction is key to establishing a good foundation for recovery from drug or alcohol misuse. Although there are many addiction recovery programs to choose from, finding an inpatient or outpatient rehab program that specifically works with older adults may better address the unique challenges facing seniors with addiction. Look for facilities that offer the following:1
- Management of other chronic health conditions.
- Focus on helping people establish social support.
- Establishing access to medical services.
- Good case management to help with support after leaving treatment.
- Staff trained in working with older population.
- Education about the proper use of prescription medications.
Both inpatient and outpatient programs offer similar services at various levels of intensity, depending on the type of care a person needs. Factors like the substances being misused, co-occurring conditions, previous substance use, and medications being taken may affect what type of care a person requires. Common services include:1, 5
- Detoxification. Provides a safe place with medical supervision to move through the potentially uncomfortable withdrawal process. Depending on the substances being treated, medication may be used to address specific symptoms associated with withdrawal symptoms. Detox is typically the first phase of treatment and research suggests that additional treatment may be more effective at maintaining long-lasting recovery.
- Inpatient treatment. During inpatient treatment, a person stays overnight at the senior rehab facility for the duration of treatment. People receive 24/7 monitoring, group and individual behavioral therapy sessions, and other services to support recovery.
- Outpatient treatment. During outpatient treatment, a person goes to the facility receive treatment. The number of hours per week a person goes to treatment will depend on the level of care decided upon by you and your treatment team. Services may include group and individual behavioral therapy sessions, drug counseling, medication, and detox.
All medical staff at the elderly drug or alcohol recovery facility should be trained not only in addiction medicine but should also have expertise in the psychiatric and medical needs of the senior population.
Older individuals often experience nutritional deficiencies that may be compounded by substance misuse. Due to the unique nutritional needs of older people, it may be beneficial to seek out senior rehab centers with a licensed nutritionist on staff.
The Importance of Addiction Aftercare Programs
The importance of addiction aftercare is key in helping people find the support they need as they leave formal treatment. This is particularly true when it comes to senior adults who may live alone and be at risk for relapse due to drug or alcohol cravings that are difficult to manage alone.
Aftercare or continuing care planning is offered by addiction treatment centers to help people transition back to daily life outside of treatment. An aftercare plan may include structured services and resources such as:
- 12-step facilitation.
- Behavioral therapy.
- Medication management.
- Mutual support groups.
- Treatment for co-occurring conditions.
Senior Rehab Solutions for Drug or Alcohol Addiction
If you are a senior or have a loved one who is an older adult struggling with addiction, please call us at to learn about treatment options. American Addiction Centers has helpful admissions navigators available 24/7 to answer questions, provide resources, and quickly check insurance coverage at our facilities. We understand what you’re going through and are ready to help you start on a path of recovery today.