Effects Of Substance Abuse In The Elderly

1150 Words 5 Pages
As our world ages more problems arise. Whether it is political issues, economic issues, or even crime, it affects all age groups. Most of the issues occurring today are associated with the younger generations. However, there are issues that are being overlooked in the elderly population. Substance abuse in the elderly is one of the fastest growing issues in the United States. The use of alcohol or "misuse" of alochol can place the elderly in many detrimental psychological, physical, and social consequences that may be undetected. There are many reasons for geriatric substance abuse and many ways in which nurses can impact misuse in a positive way.
Substance abuse usually doesn’t occur with the elderly buying and taking drugs off of the streets,
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Although these substances have been identified to cause problems for the ever growing elderly population, gender is also a risk factor. Evidence has been found to correlate to women having a more vulnerable issue with substance abuse than men. (Boyle & Davis, 2010). This growing population of "baby-boomers" have developed these risk factors and have developed early detection knowledge for nurses including using alcohol and substances to self-medicate to control pain or induce sleep, or older adults who isolate themselves use drinking and susbtance use while their bored or lonely. Grief and bereavement is also a risk factor as stated previously. It has been show that individuals who have lost a spouse are at a greater risk for drinking. These risk factors are developed by these elderly individuals because of situations such as being in nursing homes without their loved ones, living alone due to the loss of a spouse, or losing friends and support systems as time goes on. Early detection, assessment, and prevention is key in treating these abusers. Younger individuals do not have these types of situations present in their lifetimes unlike the elderly, in which causes alcohol and substance abuse to be much more prevalent in the elderly population. Because of retirement or …show more content…
Abuse and dependancy can be evaluated by clinical criteria in the DSM-IV which is a list of disorders and diagnoses for the mentally ill. There are many important assessments and skills that are necessary in order to treat these thought processes and actions. The CAGE is an important tool in evaluating a client with alcohol misuse. The CAGE assessment tool focuses on questionnaire type evaluations including things such as cutting down drinking, annoyance to others, guilt, and eye-opening lifestyle changes. Hospitalization may be considered for dangerous abusers of substances along with psychiatric and mental health consultation. Due to the fact that substance abuse and alcohol misuse in the elderly, many nursing implications need to be addressed during screening. Assessment is key during the interview process, looking for signs and symptoms of alcohol withdrawl and substance use including autonomic hyperreactivity alterations including sweating, nausea, vomiting, tremors, and neuropsychiatric alterations including agitation, anxiety, hallucinations and disturbances in tactile or visual senses. As stated before, using the CAGE tool also is necessary during the interview process of alcohol and substance abuse. Per physician orders, patients may be placed on neuro observations, CIWA scales, and possibly one on one intervention due to how extreme and dangerous the individual may be

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