When you hear getting drunk and high, you might not know that your parents or grandparents are also at risk. However, you must remember that our older citizens today don’t belong to the subdued Depression Era, like their mothers and fathers. Instead, a lot of them want to “live and let live”. Many of them in their younger years were familiar with marijuana and psychedelic experiments. In the society where they grew up, drinking alcohol and smoking cigarettes every day was not considered extreme.
To add to that, an older population stands a higher risk of health conditions associated with getting drunk and high. For instance, a lot of them suffer from arthritis or other serious pain; this may cause them to become addicted to an opioid. Some people suffer from anxiety or mental illness and may use benzodiazepine. Maybe the most dangerous they face is the potential for prescription drug misuse.
Even if getting drunk and high does not happen deliberately, the National Institute of Drug Abuse (NIDA) reports that it can grow over time.
“There is just 13% of people between 65 and older age, but there are more than one-third of overall hiring expenditure in the United States,” reports NIDA on its website. “English and multiple prescriptions are more common for older patients, and some cognitive declines could lead to excessive use of medications. Otherwise, people on a fixed income will misuse the remaining prescription for another person to save money.”
Elderly people handle drug addiction differently than younger people inside their bodies, which makes interactions and overdoses more problematic when medications are not taken correctly. Elderly people emphasize the possibility of combining alcohol with their lethal medications.
Meaning of Drug Abuse
This means the use or use of illicit drugs or medicines on a non-recommended or expected basis. Intentional inhalation of household or industrial chemicals for behavioral changes is also included.
Often the concept includes tobacco use and problem drinking. The words chemical abuse and drug abuse can be used interchangeably or used to refer to a mixture of drug abuse and tobacco use.
Many drugs are also addictive; despite harmful effects, they trigger cravings and a continuous compulsion to use them. Drug abuse can begin in infancy and continue in adulthood. Studies by secondary school students show that about 42% drink alcohol, 21% consume marijuana, and 3% use cocaine. Approximately 12% using inhalants and 20% abused prescription medicines (Source: CDC).
Drug users initially take them out of curiosity, to escape, feel better, or for several other reasons. Drugs can affect multiple bodies and complications can occur from the brain or other body damage. Other negative results also arise from the effects of medicines on the mind of a person and may be taken during an individual’s control thereby getting drunk and high.
Depending on whether the substance is abused, whether addiction exists, whether there are physical or psychological issues in coexistence, care can be hospital-based or ambulatory. Supervised withdrawal or detox may be required if a physical symptom is normal when the medication is stopped. This may be called detoxification. The use of medicines can reduce cravings, prevent the effects of the medicinal product, or cause unpleasant reactions when using the medicine. Conduct counseling is usually an integral component of therapy, and provides skills, helps improve attitudes and habits, and contributes to rehabilitation.
A Toxic Mix of Painkillers, Alcohol, and Anxiety Medications
The number of older adults in need of drug addiction care and those used to getting drunk and high has been estimated to more than triple, from 1.7 million in 2000 and 2001 to 4.4 million by 2020, according to the study reported in the journal Drug and Alcohol Dependence. “This is attributed to a 50% rise in elderly adults and a 70% increase in the need to treat older adults,” the paper said. 
The findings of the 2005 and 2006 National Medicines and Health Survey among 10,953 respondents aged 50 or older were analyzed in the American Journal of Psychiatry. Among the studied group, 6,717 were aged between 50 and 64, and 4,236 were aged between 65 and more. 
In the last year, two-thirds of men have reported addiction, and 55 percent of women. Overall, 13% of men and eight% of women recorded risky alcohol use in 65 of them and more than 14% have reported binge drinking in men and 3% have in women.
The researchers report that “addiction and being used and non-medical use of receptacle drugs was correlated with binge drinking in comparison with the use of non-alcohol, with higher income and being split, divorced or widowed.”
There is an often mentioned side effect of getting drunk and high among older people. A fall can lead to broken bones in elderly people. This generally leads to the elderly getting a much poorer quality of life and more unpleasant medications. Due to inactivity, more health problems can grow. In other co-occurring disorders, the patient can experience a fast overall decline.
Living in the “Hippie” Generation
A 2010 Associated Press survey said that the consumption of marijuana tripled from 1.6% in 2002 to 5.1% in 2008 for 55 to 59 years.  The study quoted studies by the Administration for Substance Abuse and Mental Health.
“When 78 million boomers were born from the 1945 to 1964 years of age, observers expect more rises in getting drunk and high patients,” the AP reported. “For many boomers, the drug never contained and sought the stigma it had done for past generations.”
In the tale of the AP, however, Dr. William Dale, the University Chicago Medical Center’s chief of geriatrics and palliative medicine, warns that marijuana usage can also precipitate droplets among elderly people if they become dizzy, but can also contribute to heart disease. Research has also shown that the use of marijuana can cause cognitive decline and that older Americans are already vulnerable to dementia-related diseases.
Experiments have also shown that older people use crystal methamphetamine more and more fr the min aim of substance abuse. According to TV station KHON , the Hawaiian Department of Health confirmed last year that methamphetamine was used between the ages of 50 years and older between 2010 and 2014.
Sadly, the elderly Americans also are alone, so that there may be notices of addiction and getting drunk and high. Others can simply lead to senility or a temporary mood for unusual conduct.
Signs and Symptoms of Substance Abuse
Substance abuse has been linked to issues in interpersonal, domestic, jobs, and legal relationships. These issues include the signs of substance abuse:
- Craving the drug, despite problems accessing it or trying to stop the Weakening of relationships
- Employment difficulty
- Employment difficulty
- Financial issues
- Sexual activity at high risk
- Increasing time to think, receive, use and recover from the medication
- Unfulfilled responsibility
- Problems of law
- Need higher doses to achieve the same effect (tolerance)
- Use a medication to prevent signs of withdrawal
- Drugs before or after safety-related activities
Indications of Drug Intoxication
The use of drugs can lead to poisoning symptoms, including:
- Problems of balance, trouble walking, and constant falls
- Process, personality, or behavior changes Change in mental status
- Reduced reflections
- Excessive energy or dynamism
- Balance and communication deteriorated
- Judgment and memory impairment
- Vision impairment
- Nausea, whether vomiting or not
- Modifications of pupil size
- Excessive voice; slow speech
Best Way to Suggest Therapy
Like other victims, the elderly would typically reject recommendations for help with narcotics or alcohol. Many think they’ve got the freedom to enjoy themselves.
It will help to share information about fall risks, as well as clarify how drugs and alcohol can never be metabolized by their bodies and how this can lead to getting drunk and high and to an overdose.
You may also clarify the following according to the National Institute on Aging:
- Too much alcohol can result in certain types of cancers or liver damage over long periods.
- Drinking is aggravating problems relating to blood pressure, diabetes, osteoporosis, and ulcers.
- Drugs and drinks induce forgetfulness and misunderstanding that could be misdiagnosed by the doctor as Alzheimer’s disease
- This is what the golden years should be. Deep down, seniors probably want to be safe and enjoy activities and travel that they did not spend time on in their working years
- National Institute of Ageing reports: People over 65 are not to drink more than 7 drinks a week or three drinks on a single day 
- Ask, “Do you have a health issue, your loved one? Do you take any medicines?” You will have to drink less or not and you can speak to your doctor
Studies by The National Institute for Aging reveals that counseling should e taken by older adults. Finding a support group for elderly people with addiction issues as well as a medical center with proven therapies is also critical. Medical practitioners specializing in geriatric addiction are inadequate, but those experts must be found whenever possible. Contact us if you have a problem of getting drunk and high, and we will assist you.
- National Institute of Drug Abuse (2014, November). Prescription Drug Abuse. Older Adults. Retrieved March 13, 2016, from https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/research-reports/prescription-drugs/trends-in-prescription-drug-abuse/older-adults
- Gfroerer, J. et al. (2003, March 1). Substance Abuse Treatment Need Among Older Adults in 2020: The Impact of the Aging Baby Boom Cohort.
- Blazer, Dan et al. (2009, Oct. 10). The Epidemiology of At-Risk and Binge Drinking Among Middle-Aged and Elderly Community Adults: National Survey on Drug Use and Health. The American Journal of Psychiatry. Retrieved March 13, 2016, from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12609694
- Associated Press/NBC News. (2010, Feb. 22). Pot Use Among Seniors Goes up as Boomers Age. Retrieved March 13, 2013, from http://www.nbcnews.com/id/35519187/ns/health-aging/t/pot-use-among-seniors-goes-boomers-age/#.VuXHIZwrKhc
- Report: Meth Use among older Hawaii adults nearly doubles (2015, Sept. 11). KHON-TV. Retrieved March 13, 2016, from http://khon2.com/2015/09/11/report-meth-use-among-older-hawaii-adults-nearly-doubles/
- Alcohol use in Older People. (2015, Dec. 15). National Institute on Aging. Retrieved March 13, 2016, from https://www.nia.nih.gov/health/publication/alcohol-use-older-people
Ben Lesser is one of the most sought-after experts in health, fitness and medicine. His articles impress with unique research work as well as field-tested skills. He is a freelance medical writer specializing in creating content to improve public awareness of health topics. We are honored to have Ben writing exclusively for Dualdiagnosis.org.