Substance Abuse Increases in Aging Adults - KFYRTV.COM - Bismarck, ND - News, Weather, Sports

Substance Abuse Increases in Aging Adults

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Come retirement, there is plenty of down time and plenty of time to pick up unhealthy habits. 

"We might have been seeing people who've been dealing with alcohol issues throughout their life, or we might be be dealing with a population who's just beginning to use alcohol in their later years after their retirement," says Certified Addictions Registered Nurse, Marvis Doster. 

Sometimes it starts because people are bored or depressed. But nurses say substance abuse in the elderly can be tough to spot because many people see the symptoms as a sign of natural aging. 

"It's truly overlooked by people in the medical profession, by family members," says Doster. "Even by professionals who are trying to assess if there is a drug and alcohol problem."

But the good news is, there are treatment options for people of any age across the state of North Dakota. 

"We have to make some adaptations in our usual approach to treatment to identity and deal with some of the needs of the elderly," says Doster. "But they can seek treatment services in any of our treatment programs." 

The North Dakota Attorney General's office is even starting campaigns to reduce the over-use of prescription medications. 

"It's just shining light to get rid of used or unused medications in a place to actually dump them, so that way people don't leave them around," says Department of Human Services Prevention Specialist, Patrick Joyce. 

That makes drugs harder to get, but anybody can buy alcohol. So health officials are warning families to keep an eye out if mom or dad start acting differently.

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