Elderly Care Rock Hill SC
Abuse of prescription drugs can fall under several categories such as those that take more than prescribed, those that mix their drugs with other drugs or alcohol, and those that take medicine that is not needed to promote health. Though people rarely think of the elderly when addressing this issue, there are several contributing factors that make elders prime targets for this insidious abuse. There are two common drug groups that contribute to prescription drug abuse among the elderly.
Opiods are painkillers such as morphine, methadone, hydrocodone and oxycodone. A few of the brand names they are sold under include Oxycontin, Vicodin and Demerol. In addition to controlling pain, they also boost well-being by increasing the production of dopamine, the feel-good hormone. These can be highly addictive and require increased doses to maintain the same relief.
Benzodiazepines are tranquilizers that are used to treat anxiety and insomnia. Common brand names include Valium and Xanax. They are also used as muscle relaxants.
Why the Elderly
There are a number of reasons why the elderly are prone to drug abuse:
The increased dosage due to tolerance build-up accounts for toxic levels in the elderly due to their reduced metabolic rate as well as their reduced capacity to rid the body of toxins.
Depression and loneliness contribute to drug abuse.
Many elderly are taking more than one prescription drug, leading to possible drug interactions and varying side-effects.
How to Recognize
There are various signs and symptoms to look out for if you expect your loved one is abusing their medications. The most obvious:
Their medications are running out ahead of schedule. Some will attempt to get the same prescription from two different doctors.
Keep medication in purse or pocket instead of in pill box.
Change in mood to include unaccustomed anger or the tendency to withdraw into their own psyche.
Loss of interest in usual activities and low motivation.
Loss of memory and cognitive declines.
Physical symptoms which include dizziness, drowsiness, confusion, blurred vision, slurred speech and lack of coordination.
If you are Concerned
Talk to the doctor who prescribed the medication you are concerned about. If your parent takes multiple medications, be sure to make a list of them and discuss all prescriptions with one doctor or pharmacist.
It will be important to keep a watchful eye on your parent. Consider getting help from a elderly care provider. They can be your eyes and ears when you are unable to be with your parent. They can remind your parent when it is time to take their medication. They can assist with the daily activities of life and provide your parent with that all-important companionship so important to both the health and happiness of the elderly.