Debra Jay, addiction specialist and intervention consultant, describes addiction in older adults a “silent epidemic.” The reason behind is that unlike teenage addiction or substance abuse in younger people, addiction in seniors is often undiagnosed and underserved.
“The American Medical Association reported that more older adults are admitted to hospitals for alcohol and drug related illnesses or injuries than for heart problems. But the full story isn’t told in statistics. The cost to families is measured in broken relationships, the burden of care giving, diminished grandparenting, and grief and loss,” Ms. Jay explained in an interview with TestCountry.
Ms. Jay is the author of No More Letting Go: The Spirituality of Taking Action Against Alcoholism and Drug Addiction, and co-author of Love First: A Family’s guide to Intervention and Aging and Addiction: Helping Older Adults Overcome Alcohol or Medication Dependence. She regularly appeared as addictions expert on the Oprah Winfrey Show for three seasons.
In the interview, Ms. Jay eloquently shared with us juicy facts about substance abuse in elderly — details that many of us are unaware or have probably ignored because of the overwhelming information about addiction in other populations.
She tells that some symptoms of substance abuse in older people are often confused as signs of aging because of their similarities, such as incontinence, shaky hands, insomnia, and isolation.
To read the full text of the interview and have basic understanding about addiction in elderly, visit Exclusive Interview with Debra Jay.