Signs of Opioid Addiction in an Older Adult

Signs of Opioid Addiction in an Older Adult

Know the Signs to Look For

An estimated 21 to 29% of adults with a prescription for opioids aren’t using them as prescribed. Addiction to opioids is a high risk, too, with as many as 12% of adults taking these habit-forming medications developing dependence issues.
According to The Center on Addiction, a recent increase in these substance abuse cases was seen in adults age 55 to 64, and dependence is often missed in adults over the age of 65. Since these are legally prescribed medications, it isn’t always easy to spot the symptoms, but here’s how asking for money, new and strange behaviors, and visiting multiple doctors might be signs of opioid addiction.

Asking For Money

A sudden and seemingly desperate need for extra cash is a red flag associated with pain medication dependence. This is especially true in adults who previously seemed in control of their budget or have recently begun falling behind on bills.
For family members and loved ones who would rather not jump to conclusions, requests for loans or financial gifts could be met with an offer to take a look at finances. A glimpse into the situation might reveal money troubles related to a change in circumstance. If bills aren’t being paid or there are unexplained sums of money disappearing, it’s plausible that this sudden need for extra cash is a sign of a problem with prescription medications.

Strange Behavior

Opioid addiction is associated with symptoms like becoming isolated or being less interested in activities once cherished. Additionally, adults struggling with abusing medications may begin slurring their words and become less coordinated.
Changes in personality or behavior can also indicate a problem. If an aging adult is suddenly behaving in a way that is out of character for them, this is worth investigating. Even if addiction isn’t at play, behavioral changes could be pointing to another issue, like depression.

Multiple Doctors

Dependence on prescription medications often escalates, requiring higher doses to maintain the desired effect. For this reason, adults addicted to opioids may attempt to obtain additional prescriptions by seeing multiple doctors.
Seniors who change medical providers without explanation or who are seeing more than one doctor for the same issue could be attempting to mask or hide overuse of prescribed medication. Additionally, this person may become defensive or secretive towards family members who inquire about their medical appointments.
Addressing a suspected dependence problem isn’t easy. If there are red flags in your life or the life of a family member that indicate addiction, the first step is to involve a medical professional. This allows for a supervised and safe withdrawal from high doses of opioids.
~ Here’s to Your Financial Health!