As the baby boomer generation gets older, there will be an increase in the intake of medications and alcohol, if we stay on the healthcare trend that society is currently experiencing. Medications for all patients tend to treat symptoms, as opposed to root-causes, and over-medication can be problematic in all classes of drugs. Narcotics often get the headlines, but other forms of medication also have significant side effects that can impact the diminished quality of life that some seniors experience.
Sometimes the side effects can be worse than the actual disease, although the disease only gets treated when treatment is available. Diseases are normally “managed” with medications, as the current medical industry has not been totally successful in eliminating many diseases.
Physical Impact of Narcotics
This category of medications includes both legal and illegal drugs. Legal medications that require a doctor’s authorization are prescribed commonly because they are effective methods of reducing pain in elderly individuals. Individuals do have a right to medications that alleviate pain, even though many doctors are not always amenable to writing those prescriptions. Sometimes this is a facility policy, yet some seniors still need pain medication to deal with symptoms of incurable diseases.
Controlled substances, illegal without a prescription, also play a part in the future projections; this encompasses a senior’s regular use of street drugs such as cocaine and heroin. The result of using narcotics outside of medical authority and guidelines will be devastating as the baby boomer generation ages. Minimal studies have been completed, and it is still a guessing game, but the accompanying impact on brain receptors has shown that Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s Disease will both increase in numbers. Lapses in judgment which may occur while the senior is under the influence of legal or illegal substances may cause a situation where the elder is arrested. If this unfortunate event happens in the Texas area, search for a Houston DWI attorney immediately for legal counsel.
Physical Impact of Maintenance Medications
Many elderly patients take a large number of maintenance drugs that help them through their daily routine. Prime examples of these are medications for high blood pressure, atrial fibrillation, diminishing breathing ability, regulatory system complications, and depression. Depression may be of the most concern currently, as many senior citizens experience emotional difficulties as they age because they have trouble with being in the last years of their life. Over consumption of alcohol may dull the physical pain, and emotional pain of aging.
Many medications, even non-narcotic, can impact the body with problems relating to dehydration, liver function, mental interaction, and mineral imbalances. Vitamins can help, and there are other restricted medications that can also help, but they still may cause reactions or additional side effects. Just because the patient takes a minimal amount of narcotics does not mean that the body does not experience negative results from the drug. As more drugs are added to take care of symptoms, there is a risk that the multiple medications may interact with each other; the addition of alcoholic cocktails will cause other harmful side effects.
Thanks to improved medical care, and healthier lifestyles, individuals are living increasingly longer lives. There is no indication that this trend will diminish anytime soon, as averages constantly rise. In the meantime, it is important for medical science to evaluate the current situation and develop appropriate treatments to help deserving citizens manage their illnesses. Continually monitoring trends on an annual basis is a good place to start, but now is the time to prepare for effective alternatives, treatments, and cures.
Teresa Stewart is a senior caregiver who shares research on drug reliance in the aged. Her studies found that Dane Johnson of Johnson, Johnson & Baer will provide a Houston DWI attorney who understands the need for a serious DWI defense and the client’s need to win. His experienced team can effectively introduce doubt so their clients may be cleared of all charges.
Photo Credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/cavale/3371300279/
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