Older Adult Opioid Use

Arrowhead Lodge Recovery - Chronic Alcoholism Rehab Older MenIn the past 20 years, the rate of hospitalization among seniors related to opioid overuse has quintupled. Since 2000, the rate of deaths from drug overdoses has increased 137%, including a 200% increase in the rate of overdose deaths involving opioids (opioid pain relievers and heroin).

A study of Medicare recipients found that in 2011, about 15 percent were prescribed an opioid when they were discharged from the hospital. Three months later, 42 percent were still taking the pain medicine.

These numbers give direct insight into how some seniors become addicted.

President Trump’s commission on opioids reports that only 10 percent of the 21 million people with substance abuse disorders receive any kind of treatment. Preliminary figures from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention indicate there were nearly 67,000 drug overdose deaths in the 12-month period through June 2017; up from more than 57,000 in the 12-month period through June 2016.

Of course, not everyone using opioids will become addicted. And some individuals need opioids to manage long term severe pain. However, anyone taking opioids over time will develop a physical tolerance.

Opioid Tolerance and Addiction in Older Adults

Arrowhead Lodge Recovery, Rehab for Men, Baby Boomer Addiction RecoveryOpioids are known to have an inverse effect on pain relief over time. That is, in the beginning opioids are very effective as prescribed for relieving pain. Over time the pain relief from opioid decreases, even at the same dose level.

This effect is known as developing ‘tolerance’ to the opioid. Tolerance happens even if the user does not become addicted. Because of the tolerance effect,  it is not realistic to think that opioids will remain effective on low doses indefinitely.

In the past decade, a reliance on prescribing ‘time release’ opioids almost guaranteed addiction if severe pain was involved. This is because the drugs did not relieve pain for a full 12 hours; and increasing doses were needed to control pain. This was a setup for becoming addicted.

How Can Senior Adults Become Addicted Without Knowing It?

Arrowhead Lodge Recovery, How Can Opioid Addiction Happen to Older AdultsMany older adults, seniors and even baby boomers are initially shocked to discover they could be addicted to their paid meds.

How could anyone become addicted without knowing it?

Are these adults simply not paying attention?

Or, are they knowingly abusing prescription opioid pain medications?

Let’s Look at a Typical Case of Older Adult Opioid Addiction

The patient is an older male, retired, age 65+. During his working life, this individual was steady and hard-working with no previous addictions or alcoholism. This individual has no particular emotional or financial stress currently; and is not taking any pain medications.

  1. Older man goes into hospital for a procedure or surgery that requires post-procedure pain relief.
  2. Man is prescribed pain meds after surgery, including Oxycontin.
  3. Over time, man needs more pain medication to relieve the pain.
  4. Tolerance has developed. He needs a higher opioid prescription dose to combat pain.
  5. Taking higher doses relieves pain – but the man becomes rapidly feeble; trouble with balance and walking.
  6. Man becomes bed-ridden. Former low impact exercise program is no longer pursued.
    An under-reported side effect of pain medication is accidental falls with serious outcomes.
  7. His physician, noting the man’s age and recent surgery, concludes the man is simply experiencing the effects of old age.
  8. An  M.D. 2nd opinion suggests that opioid addiction could be the cause; suggests a rehab for older men.
  9. The man is shocked. And totally horrified.
  10. He is not a ‘dope fiend’. Everyone knows that only the morally bankrupt become addicted to drugs.
    Certainly not a man taking medication as prescribed.

New Pain Management Trends

Arrowhead Lodge Recovery - Impaired ProfessionalsTreatment ProgramStudies suggest that opioid use long-term can increase sensitivity to pain. This is in part due to the development of tolerance.

Are there alternatives to opioids for post-surgical pain? A new evidence-based clinical practice guideline of pain management from the American Pain Societyappearing in The Journal of Pain, gives 32 recommendations to help clinicians achieve optimal pain management following surgery.

In a 2016 Harvard Medical School article, Non-opioid Options for Managing Chronic Pain, many suggestions were made for managing pain without opioids. See the article’s main suggested alternative techniques, below.

Possible Non-opioid Chronic Pain Management Techniques

  1. Arrowhead Lodge Recovery - Alternative Non-Opioid Pain Relief OptionsExercise
  2. Weight Loss
  3. Physical therapy (PT) and occupational therapy (OT)
  4. Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS)
  5. Ultrasound
  6. Cold Laser Therapy
  7. Mind-Body Techniques: Meditation, Mindfulness, Progressive Muscle Relaxation, Breathing Exercises
  8. Yoga and Tai Chi
  9. Massage
  10. Chiropractic
  11. Acupuncture
  12. Cognitive Psychotherapy
  13. Pain-relieving devices
  14. Topical pain relievers
  15. Over-the-counter medications

Addiction Can Happen To Anyone – Hiding in Plain Sight

Arrowhead Lodge Recovery - Boomer Opioid Rehab, Prescott, AZAddiction can happen to anyone: At any age, socioeconomic level or gender.

Some individuals have had life-long struggles with addiction.

Other individuals have never had any brushes with addiction and yet find themselves addicted to prescription opioids.

If you find yourself needing stronger prescription opioids or taking more than recommended dosage of prescription opioids – and your quality of life has declined while pain increases: see your doctor.

It may not be that your medical condition is getting worse. It could be opioid addition – hiding in plain sight.

Prescription Painkiller Addiction Symptoms for Baby Boomers

Have Questions or Need Help with Addiction?

Arrowhead Lodge Recovery, Rehab for Boomer Men, Group TherapyArrowhead Lodge Recovery is a gender-specific residential-only addiction treatment center for men over 30; located in Prescott, AZ. We are accredited by The Joint Commission.

We treat addiction in the whole person: cognitive, physical and spiritual. We use mindfulness and meditation as tools to assist in addiction recovery. Mindfulness and meditation  are also used to help clients deal with chronic pain.

Arrowhead Lodge Recovery, Rehab for Men, Prescott, AZEach of our clients receives individualized treatment plan, based on their unique circumstances and needs. Recovery plans include individual therapy and counseling; as well as group therapy and counseling.

We use a multi-disciplinary addiction treatment approach to treat the whole person, implemented by licensed professionals.

Mindfulness training, healthy exercise, nutritional counseling and education, cognitive behavioral therapy, co-occurring disorders,  and psychoeducation are a part of our treatment program.

Impaired Professionals Well-Being Program

We have an Impaired Professionals well-being program. If you are monitored by a board that oversees your professional license and requires an assessment, addiction treatment, or both – our Impaired Professionals Well-Being Program provides solutions.

We work with major EAP plans.

Experienced and Licensed Addiction Recovery Team

Arrowhead Lodge Recovery, Rehab for Men, Thumb Butte TrailAt Arrowhead Lodge Recovery, we have an experienced and licensed addiction recovery team consisting of a physician, psychiatrist, psychologist, registered nurse, licensed therapists, and nutritionist.

The experienced and accredited Arrowhead Lodge Team allows us to help men for whom previous treatment attempts may have failed. Thorough medical, psycho-social, addiction and trauma assessments inform medical interventions, medication management needs. Our team’s approach is individual in treating addiction and trauma in each client.

Arrowhead Lodge Recovery also believes strongly in encouraging the power of spirituality in the healing process. We help our clients discover a personal path to living a more authentic life.

Questions? Arrowhead Lodge Recovery Has Answers

Call our admissions counselor now at 1-888-654-2800 for a confidential assessment to see if our addiction recovery program can help you return to a meaningful and fulfilling life.

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Functional Alcoholics – Family Impact, Hidden Trauma
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How Addiction Hijacks the Brain – Mindfulness Restores Sobriety
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Harvard MRI Study Evidence of Meditation’s Cognitive Benefits
Mindfulness Meditation – The 10th Step
Functional Alcoholics – Family Impact, Hidden Trauma

How Addiction Hijacks the Brain – Mindfulness Restores Sobriety
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