Reports have shown that individuals aged over 45 years are increasingly being admitted to hospitals with mental health problems related to drug use. The number of admissions due to mental health problems and behavioural problems associated with drug use, were 638 in 2007/8 and have now come to 1,182 says the report.

The admissions in this age group have risen by 85 percent over the last 10 years says the report. Among those under 45 years the admissions related to mental health problems related to drug use rose by only 1 percent.

The report adds that there is a 32 percent rise in admissions related to poisoning associated with drug use among those who are aged over 55 years. This rise was seen over the last six years says the NHS Digital. Drug related health problems rose from 5,679 in 2005/06 to 19,529 in 2017/18 says the latest figures. This is a 243 percent rise. The rise in number of people who underwent residential treatment for drug related causes were 1,797 in 2005/06 to 4,455 in 2017/18 –  a rise of 148 percent.

According to experts this rise among the older people is mainly due to their refusal to accept the warnings related to alcohol and drug use. Ian Hamilton, associate professor of addiction at the University of York in a statement said that drug use history is more likely to be longer among the older generation and they would need a longer and more intensive treatment to get out of it. He explained that these older adults need substitution therapy such as methadone to aid them to kick the drug habits rather than abstinence therapies that work for younger individuals.

The report also says that those in their 60’s and 70’s are also being increasing admitted to the hospitals because of their long history of alcohol use and drug use. The studies have shown that the younger generation is “more sensible” and more responsible when it comes to alcohol and drug use compared to their parents. In facts deaths associated with alcohol use in those over 50 years of age has risen by 45 percent over the last one decade and those related to drug use has doubled.

To prevent this counselling the older adults is thought to be the need of the day. GPs have been advised to older adults regarding alcohol use among older adults especially when they are going through traumatic events such as a divorce or death of a loved one or even work related problems and stress.

Public Health England released figures last month saying that drug addiction treatment in people over the age of 50 has risen significantly. Dr Tony Rao of the Royal College of Psychiatrists in a statement looking at the PHE report said, “Whereas millennials and younger groups are more likely to make healthy choices, the older age groups are aware of the problems but are not willing to change their lifestyles.”

Lucy Schonegevel, head of health influencing at Rethink Mental Illness explaining the situation said that it was, “was yet another piece of evidence in an ever-growing list showing the pressure that NHS services are facing in treating people with mental ill health. In these situations we can only be blunt: the numbers are travelling in the wrong direction and time is running out to do the right thing.”

Source: Increasing mental health problems related to drug use in over 55’s

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