Commonly Abused Prescription Drugs Among Elderly Adults

Elderly adult thinking about his issue with prescription drugs

It is not uncommon for elderly adults to be taking one or more prescription drugs on a regular basis. Whether for managing a chronic disease or condition, helping with pain relief, or balancing a mood or sleep disorder, prescription medications may assist in improving quality of life for the elderly adult.

Because there are often multiple prescription medications involved in the medication management of an elderly adult, there is an increased likelihood of drug misuse or abuse.

Understanding the challenges that elderly patients face as well as potentially signs of abuse can help early identify and treatment abuse of prescription drugs.

Challenges of Prescription Drugs

Elderly patients who are managing multiple medical conditions will likely have multiple prescription medications for consumption on a daily basis. Many medications often have varying instructions, such as taking on an empty stomach, taking with food, frequency in taking the medication (such as once per day versus multiple times per day), and more.

Group of adult multi-ethnic friends

In addition, there is the concern of food and drug interactions, in which precautions must be taken with the consumption of some prescription medications and avoidance of certain food products or other substances.

Elderly patients who are living alone or who have little help or care may have more challenges in managing multiple medications, which can lead to misuse. Whether intentional or not, taking medications at the incorrect dosage and frequency can lead to more complex medical issues and adverse side effects.

Elderly patients who may suffer with memory or cognitive impairments may also be more challenged in effectively managing a prescription medication regiment. Professionals and caregivers of elderly adults should consider these factors.

Supporting Medication Management Among the Elderly

Some of the common prescription medications mismanaged among the elderly include painkillers, tranquilizers, antidepressants, and sleeping aides. Helping an elderly adult come up with an effective plan for managing prescription medications can be instrumental in preventing potential misuse of medications and improving effectiveness of a medication regiment.

If you or a loved one is dealing with challenges when it comes to managing prescription medications, be sure to reach out to a professional who can offer appropriate help and assistance.

Crystal Karges photo

About the Author: Crystal is a Masters-level Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (RDN) with a specialty focus in eating disorders, maternal/child health and wellness, and intuitive eating. Combining clinical experience with a love of social media and writing, Crystal serves as the Special Projects Coordinator for Eating Disorder Hope/Addiction Hope, where her passion to help others find recovery and healing is integrated into each part of her work.

As a Certified Intuitive Eating Counselor, Crystal has dedicated her career to helping others establish a healthy relationship with food and body through her work with EDH/AH and nutrition private practice.

The opinions and views of our guest contributors are shared to provide a broad perspective of addictions. These are not necessarily the views of Addiction Hope, but an effort to offer discussion of various issues by different concerned individuals.

We at Addiction Hope understand that addictions result from a combination of environmental and genetic factors. If you or a loved one are suffering from an addiction, please know that there is hope for you, and seek immediate professional help.

Reviewed By: Jacquelyn Ekern, MS, LPC on March 13, 2016
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About Baxter Ekern

Baxter Ekern is the Vice President of Ekern Enterprises, Inc. He contributed and helped write a major portion of Addiction Hope and is responsible for the operations of the website.