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Three Tips for Helping Your Elderly Parents Avoid Addiction to Pain Killers

As you age, your parents start noticing more aches and pains than they once had. Their muscles are not as strong and their bones start to weaken. When your parents experience more aches and pains, they may run to grab some medicine to help relieve the symptoms they are having. Unfortunately, relying on medications for aches and pains can lead to chemical dependency. In fact, the number of addicts over the age of 50 is supposed to reach 6 million by the year 2020. This statistic is alarming but preventable with the help of these tips. 

Know the Symptoms of Addiction

Adults over the age of 65 consume about a third of all prescription drugs. This number is typically due to the amount of illnesses and injuries associated with aging. In order to prevent your aging parents from becoming addicted to pain killers, it is important to understand the signs of addiction, such as increasing the usage of prescription drugs. Even a gradual increase can be dangerous as this is often due to the growing tolerance for the drug. You also want to look for defensive reactions when you bring up the medications to your parents. If they get defensive about their prescriptions or usage, they may be hiding an addiction. 

Get to the Root of the Problem

Many pain killers only mask the pain instead of actually helping with the main issue. It is important to get to the root of the problem so your parent does not have to continue taking medications that may not be needed. If your parent's doctor is only prescribing pain relievers instead of helping with the issue, you may want to get a second opinion. Work with the doctor and your parent to help everyone understand what the pain is stemming from. If your parent complains of aching joints, vitamins may help to strengthen the joints so that they do not experience as much ongoing pain. 

Check Out Alternative Treatments

Pain medication is just one option to help relieve pain, but it is not the only option. Instead of relying solely on pain meds, check out nontraditional options for reducing pain. A chiropractor can help adjust the spine to relieve back pain in elderly patients or try an ancient Chinese art by checking out acupuncture. Acupuncture may relieve pain associated with fibromyalgia, back pain, and even nerve pain. There are many options available for helping ease pain your aging parent is experiencing that do not involve medication. 

If you or your loved one needs help with substance abuse treatment, visit a treatment center in your area.