As William Stoops, professor of behavioral science, psychiatry and psychology at the University of Kentucky Institute, explains in a report by the American Medical Association: “People are more stressed and isolated, they take therefore unhealthy decisions, including drinking more and taking drugs.
As Dr Elizabeth Bulat, an addiction medicine specialist affiliated with Henry Ford West Bloomfield Hospital, recently explained in a Detroit News opinion piece, addiction during the pandemic has also been a problem for people. older people, although it has a different impact on older people. “Drug addiction among people over 60 is skyrocketing,” she writes. According to the National Institute on Alcohol and Drug Abuse, alcohol and prescription drug abuse reaches up to 17% in this age group.
“Even before the COVID-19 pandemic hit in 2020, a growing number of older Americans were abusing alcohol and prescription drugs. Add social isolation to the mix and fears of contracting a deadly virus, and substance use among the elderly is at an all-time high, ”Bulat said.
She further reports that substance use disorders in older people are often overlooked, especially if they have medical or behavioral conditions such as depression or dementia that may mask the signs of addiction. Polypharmacy, the practice of taking several drugs at the same time, which is common in the elderly, also increases the risk of overdose.