Oct 04, · An estimated million older adults in the United States meet the criteria for alcohol abuse, and this number is expected to reach million by , according to a study in the journal. Substance abuse, particularly of alcohol and prescription drugs, among adults 60 and older is one of the fastest growing health problems facing the country. Yet, even as the number of older adults suffering from these disorders climbs, the situation remains underestimated, underidentified, underdiagnosed, and . In fact, it can be more difficult than recognizing use among younger users. Blow, Oslin, & Barry () note that many signs of substance abuse among older adults, such as anxiety, memory loss, disorientation, headaches, and incontinence, mirror symptoms of physical and mental health conditions that affect elders.
Indeed, substantial evidence suggests that substance use among older adults has been underidentified 78 for decades. The aging of the baby boom generation creates a new urgency to effectively identify and treat substance use among older adults. Baby boomers are distinct compared with past generations as they came of age during the s and s, a period of changing attitudes toward and rates of drug and alcohol use. SUD rates among people older than 50 years are projected to increase from about older adults and substance abuse.
Despite increasing rates of illicit and prescription older adults and substance abuse
misuse among adults older than 65 years, 5610 alcohol remains the most commonly used substance among older adults. Among the population at large, older adults reduce their alcohol use as they age. At-risk drinking is more prevalent among older adults than AUD and is likely responsible for a larger share of the harm to the health and well-being of older adults.