While many people think of addiction problems pertaining to youth and younger adults, drug and alcohol addiction can become a problem no matter your age or background. Recent statistics from Johns Hopkins suggests that the number of seniors/older adults abusing substances has become a substantial problem among this age group. Moreover, the number of elderly persons suffering with addiction problems is increasing. Given the need for treatment programs specializing in this specific population, a number of addiction treatment centers have opened focused on treating seniors/older adults.
The services offered at an elderly drug and alcohol rehab program address a number of issues specific to senior adults that traditional rehab programs lack. These specialized addiction rehab programs have been developed with the senior population in mind. The services and treatment modalities used in elderly drug rehab centers have shown to work best for older adults. The professional staff employed by elderly drug rehab programs will have experience working with seniors/older adults. Their training and experience helps the staff working at these specialized programs to assist their clients with overcoming the physical and psychological aspects of addiction among this group. For instance, staff members you can expect at an elderly drug rehabilitation program include registered nurses, physicians, psychologists, psychiatrists, addiction counselors, fitness and recreation specialists, case managers and nutritionists.
Once a program has been selected, the initial phase of the rehabilitation process is detoxification. Programs for older adults slowly wean the program participant off the substance they are physically dependent on. The time it takes for the older adult to fully detoxify may be longer than average, and they may experience the negative effects of this process more acutely. For these reasons, it is vital that their detoxification process of closely monitored around the clock. When the detoxification process is complete, the psychological aspects of the older adult's addiction issues can be addressed.
Most addiction treatment programs for 50+ adults have their patients work with counselors on both an one-on-one basis as well as in group sessions. Effective programs will evaluate their clients specific treatment needs and modify their program as needed, providing more or less one-on-one counseling or group sessions. Treatment approaches specialized for seniors include case management, appropriate content for this specific age group, adjusting the pace of the program, as well as the development of coping strategies to help seniors handle feelings of grief, loss, depression and loneliness. Lastly, aftercare is critical for maintain sobriety. Effective elderly drug rehab programs will provide their clients with the information and resources they need to help with transportation, support groups and other issues necessary to continue living a clean and sober lifestyle.
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