SOURCE: Cumberland Heights

Cumberland Heights

June 24, 2013 11:00 ET

Cumberland Heights Reports Rising Rate of Addiction Among Baby Boomers Alarming

NASHVILLE, TN--(Marketwired - Jun 24, 2013) - Aging is part of life, but it can come with increased physical pain, and, sometimes, depression. As a result, addiction among the elderly is on the rise.

According to the NIDA, older Americans make up only 13 percent of the population but receive approximately one-third of all medications prescribed in this country. Studies from the National Clearinghouse for Alcohol and Drug Information show that as many as 17 percent of adults age 60 and over abuse prescription drugs like pain killers, sleeping pills and tranquillizers.

"The changes that come with aging can be overwhelming," says Dr. Chapman Sledge, chief medical director at Cumberland Heights, a respected alcohol and drug treatment center in Nashville, Tenn. "In addition to the increased need for medications for chronic conditions, people are experiencing dramatic changes in their sense of purpose. More significant, if a spouse dies or they face financial difficulties, dependence on drugs or alcohol can develop quickly."

Those who care for an elderly person should watch for warning signs of abuse:

  • Decreased mobility or increased falls
  • Increased sleep
  • Loss of function or giving up activities they used to enjoy

How can loved ones and care givers help? "I encourage those responsible for the elderly to do a mental status check from visit to visit," Sledge says. "Watch for sudden changes in behavior or mental capacity. If you're the person in charge of medication, make sure the requests for refills don't increase."

From there, be willing to take action:

  • Speak to their primary care physician or home health nurse to track behavior and habits that, alone, you might not see as dangerous patterns.
  • Ask them if they have a problem.
  • Be an advocate for treatment.

"Elderly people have a tremendous amount of knowledge and experience to share. For that to be lost in an addiction is a palpable loss to them and to us," says Sledge.

Cumberland Heights, open since 1966, has helped more than 170,000 patients through long-term and short-term treatment programs. The nationally recognized treatment facility offers programs for adolescents and adults and has a unique program for those in high-stress professions. In addition, Cumberland Heights' proximity to the Music City makes it uniquely equipped to provide rehabilitation services to patients who are creatively inclined. For more information about Cumberland Heights and its recovery programs, visit

Contact Information