Despite the popular image of drug and alcohol abuse and those that suffer from it, it is a problem that affects populations of all ages for a multitude of different reasons. One of the particularly vulnerable age-groups includes baby boomers (individuals born between 1946 and 1964). As the need for specialized boomer addiction treatment becomes more and more apparent, many addiction facilities are developing programs that specifically target their unique care needs. These programs are sensitive to the circumstances faced by boomers as they continue to age and reconcile the rapid cultural changes that many have seen throughout their lives.
As the lives of boomers’ continue to progress, they remain no less vulnerable to the pitfalls of substance abuse. Recent data indicates a noticeable increase in addiction among this group. Approximately 4 million boomers suffer from some form of substance abuse problem, while have of all boomers report experimentation with illegal drugs. Nearly 5 percent of all adults over 50 years of age have reported using drugs during the past year. Over a quarter of all baby boomer addictions developed during the past five years involve cocaine abuse and even more involve prescriptions.
In an effort to understand the cause of this rampant increase, it’s important to examine the circumstances that boomers face as they continue to age. The health challenges and increased exposure to prescription medication that accompany the aging process can certainly be identified as a contributor, as can sense of mortality, increased depression and economic issues. We can also point to the responsibility of caring for an aging parent and the need to continue working past the retirement age to support themselves and their families. Boomers face an entirely different set of challenges than their preceding generations.
With boomers poised to become the largest population of addicts in the United States, this problem is likely to get worse before it gets better. To begin with, the increasing health issues, both related to and independent of their addiction problems, are likely to require specialized care. Despite the fact that these patients are coming, many facilities have exhibited a clear lack of certainty regarding their ability to help them.
If you or a loved one are a baby boomer facing a substance abuse or addiction issue, it’s imperative that you seek help from a facility that’s equipped to treat patients in your age group. This means therapists with an understanding of the stressors and mental health challenges faced by baby boomers and medical professionals that can successfully treat the inevitable physical needs of these particular patients. The National Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Information Center is ready to help baby boomers find quality addiction treatment so they can continue to live with the dignity, comfort and peace-of-mind they deserve. Call us today.