Medication Misuse and Abuse: Know the Signs

Although prescription drug abuse is a widespread problem, there is an increasing risk for medication misuse and abuse among older adults.

According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), and their page, “Specific Populations and Prescription Drug Misuse and Abuse,” older adults and seniors are more likely to experience problems with medication. They become more sensitive to medication as they age, plus they develop slower metabolic and elimination processes. Plus, individuals age 50 and older may experience cognitive decline, resulting in the improper use of their medication.

Older adults are at a higher risk for misuse due to factors such as their “elevated rates of pain, sleep disorders/insomnia and anxiety.” Also, the article discusses the adverse effects of combining alcohol with medications.

It’s important to thoroughly read warning labels on all medications. Also, speak to your pharmacist or primary care physician about the effects of drinking alcohol while using your medications.

For more information on medication abuse and misuse, as well as a guide for identifying, screening, assessing and treating substance abuse, click here.

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