According to 2011 data from the National Institute on Drug Abuse, people ages 65 or older currently comprise only 13% of the population, but they account for one-third of the money spent on prescriptions in the United States. One drug that is often prescribed to them is Vicodin. This drug is a central nervous system (CNS) depressant and is used to manage pain. What makes Vicodin usage among seniors potentially dangerous is the interaction with other drugs. Older patients are much more likely to be prescribed multiple long-term prescriptions that may interact negatively with each other.
Other reasons Vicodin usage among seniors can be dangerous include the following:
- Cognitive decline – Because many seniors suffer from dementia or Alzheimer’s Disease, they are more likely to use medication improperly. They may miss dosages or take too much of a drug. They may also mix drugs that should not be combined.
- Fixed income – Many seniors are on a fixed income and, in turn, they may abuse another person’s medication in order to save money. They may think that if Vicodin is similar to another drug or helped someone else, it must be safe to use even if not prescribed for them.
- Masking problems – As a person ages, the body begins to break down and multiple health problems may arise. Abusing Vicodin may mask a serious medical problem that needs attention.
Over the next several years, seniors abusing Vicodin and other drugs will become an increasing problem as the baby boom generation becomes senior adults. This generation has a much higher rate of lifetime illicit drug addiction than previous generations, according to a 2009 report by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). The good news is that you can never be too old to get help for a Vicodin addiction.
Detox and Treatment for Vicodin Addiction
Recovery from Vicodin addiction begins with detox, which is the process by which the body rids itself of the drug. Patients often taper off the drug over time with the help of a qualified physician and other health professionals who can monitor your progress. The medical staff at a rehab facility can treat any problems associated with detox and can look after your safety. This is especially important with seniors who have co-occurring medical conditions such as a heart condition or high blood pressure. Once detox is complete, you can choose among several treatment options. Most treatment facilities offer residential or outpatient treatment plans that can last from 30 days to one year. The length of stay is determined in part by the depth of your addiction and in part by a circle of people who want to give you the best chance of recovery without relapse.
Getting Help for Your Vicodin Addiction
If you have become addicted to Vicodin, you are not alone in your struggle. We are here to help. You can call our toll-free number any time, 24 hours a day. You can talk with one of our admissions coordinators who will be able to explain the best treatment options for your unique situation. Your life matters too much to have it cut short by Vicodin addiction. Call us today and get the help you need.