Seniors are not typically an age group people think about when it comes to treatment for addiction. One Valley rehabilitation facility is seeing an uptick of senior citizens seeking treatment for alcoholism and addiction to prescription narcotics.
“We’re getting one or two a week now, recently,” said David Larimer, program director of the Scottsdale Recovery Center.
He says it is hard to know exactly what’s behind the recent influx of senior patients, but the majority of those admitted for treatment suffer from mental health issues and an addiction to alcohol or prescription pain pills such as opioids.
“Ninety percent of our clients have a co-occurring disorder which means they have a mental health issue as well as a full-blown addiction,” Larimer said. “Typically the mental-health issue is depression and anxiety. Ninety-nine percent of our clients have post-traumatic stress, which is a trauma history.”
According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, “seniors aged 65 years and older comprise only 13 percent of the population, yet account for more than one-third of total outpatient spending on prescription medications in the U.S.”