Not As Prescribed
Recognizing and Facing Alcohol and Drug Misuse in Older Adults
by Harry Haroutunian, M.D.
“Not As Prescribed is a valiant effort at helping concerned loved ones and caregivers of older adults understand the dynamics behind [drug and alcohol problems]. Getting my mom to treatment, and then a life of recovery, wasn’t easy, but it was a miracle to us. Every life is worth saving.”
Susan Ford Bales, daughter of Betty Ford
Not As Prescribed Foreword
Statistics show that 17 percent of older adults ages sixty and up have an alcohol or drug problem, compared with 10 percent of the overall population. By 2020, the number of addicted older adults is expected to double to six million, says Harry Haroutunian, MD, in his new book, Not As Prescribed: Recognizing and Facing Alcohol and Drug Misuse in Older Adults (Hazelden; April 19, 2016; $15.95; Original Trade Paperback).
With an increasing population of aging Baby Boomers, Dr. Haroutunian is addressing the problem at a critical time. Many adults over the age of 50 experience life changes, both large and small. When combined with the additional pressures that may come from loneliness or depression, these can create circumstances that make it easier for older adults to overindulge in alcohol or accidentally misuse medications prescribed to them by doctors.
Not As Prescribed
In Not As Prescribed, Dr. Haroutunian discusses the challenges individuals age 50 and older may face. He explains how they can develop problems from substance misuse and what caregivers and loved ones should look for to stop a pattern from developing into a more serious addiction.
Not As Prescribed is a comprehensive guide for people who are struggling with drugs or alcohol as well as those who want to help their loved ones. Important topics Dr. Haroutunian covers include:
- The distinction between the symptoms of aging, polypharmacy (the use of four or more medications by a patient), and addiction.
- Which prescription drugs and medical conditions can mimic dementia.
- The difference between abuse and dependence, or misuse and addiction.
- Why an older adult may turn to drugs and alcohol.
- The relationship between prescription painkillers and addiction.
- Tips to help caregivers talk with an older adult’s doctor about the need for and proper use of prescriptions.
- Information about how and where to find treatment for older adults, and recommendations to help them stay on track in recovery.
Not As Prescribed bravely outlines a condition that could become an epidemic among older adults. Filled with anecdotes and stories from older adults who have achieved recovery, statistics and facts about drug and alcohol use in this demographic, and a wealth of useful information for caregivers who want to take helpful action, Not As Prescribed is a vital resource that will save lives and families.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Harry Haroutunian, MD, is an internationally known speaker and authority on addiction-oriented topics—including drug misuse among older adults. He is widely read online and has appeared on The Dr. Oz Show and Dr. Drew On Call as well as in The New York Times and Cosmopolitan. Board certified in both addiction and family medicine, Dr. Haroutunian serves as physician director of professional and residential programs at the Betty Ford Center in Rancho Mirage, California. He is the author of Being Sober: A Step-by-Step Guide To, Getting Through, and Living in Recovery.