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Treatment Options for Older Adults with Substance-Use Disorders 

Treatment Options for Older Adults with Substance-Use Disorders
Treatment Options for Older Adults with Substance-Use Disorders

Stacy A. Cohen

, Margaret M. Haglund

, and Larissa J. Mooney

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date: 13 June 2021

Due to co-occurring medical disorders, psychosocial differences, functional and cognitive limitations related to aging, and the potential for multiple medication interactions, unique considerations must be made when addressing the diagnosis and treatment of SUDs among the elderly. Better information is needed on all fronts, from initial screening and assessment, to triaging to appropriate levels of care, to behavioral therapies and pharmacological treatment. Guidelines should help direct providers, families, and patients identify appropriate and individualized treatment programs. Encouragingly, outcomes appear to be as good, if not better, in the older population than in younger adults treated for SUDs. As the “baby boomer” population ages, more older adults will need treatment for illicit drug use, alcoholism, and the misuse of prescription medications. Greater education and awareness of this growing problem will increase attention paid by clinicians and policymakers allocating resources to address the treatment of SUDs in the older population.

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