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Prescription Drugs and the Elderly

Discussion in 'Prescription Drugs' started by Geinnam, Oct 25, 2014.

  1. Geinnam

    Geinnam Member

    I am very worried about my 78 year old mother. She and my father, who is 84, live over 8 hours away from me. They have always been very health conscious and fit. Their lifestyle was a contributing factor of my father beating cancer (caused by Agent Orange/Vietnam) last year. When I would speak to my mother on the phone, I attributed her confusion to the aging process.

    When my father had his cancer surgery, I stayed with them for a rather long period of time. She would be fine in the morning, but as the day progressed, her personality would change and at times she became very aggressive. My father admitted that she was abusing prescription drugs, such as oxycodone and others. He also said that she was high when she fell down the stairs the prior year and broke her arm. We discussed this at length and he put the medications where she could not find them. He was adamant about not involving my brother or sister and he does not let her drive.

    Things were going well for quite a while, but I knew instantly that she is abusing again when I spoke to her last week. My brother and sister have no desire to discuss or deal with this, even though they are aware. They tell me to let my father handle it and I agree to a certain extent, but I am terrified for both of them.
  2. DancingLady

    DancingLady Community Champion

    This is a hard issue because some of these drug are prescribed for a real condition, but are actually addictive for some people, or if taken for to long. If you can, talk to her doctor about it. You probably would need to go with your dad to do so as he is her spouse, but her doctor needs to know that these drugs are a problem so he can find another option to treat her condition if she still has a need. There are many options for pain management, not all of them are drugs. It's hard when the person has become addicted though. She may be ashamed of it, but is still hooked because it feels good to be on them.
  3. Geinnam

    Geinnam Member

    Thank you so much for your reply, DancingLady. It is so hard to watch after everything they went through in their lifetimes. I know that she suffers from depression and also takes Prozac, but I think she genuinely wants to feel good. As is the case with a lot of elderly people, they practically have an entire pharmacy in their house and the doctors keep prescribing them more and more. I plan to go back for a visit soon, hopefully we can resolve this.
  4. LostmySis

    LostmySis Senior Contributor

    Here's another thought, since you said she was okay in the morning, but changed as the day went on.... sundowning. My grandmother first started sundowning, and because she felt "strange" she began taking drugs like valium and xanax. It was actually the onset of alzheimers (it took 5 years). But by the afternoon, she became either verbally nasty or would sometimes hallucinate. She once told me that she didnt tell anyone for a long time because she felt she was going crazy. She used the drugs to help, but they didn't. I would take her to a geriatric specialist. This is more common of a problem than you think.
  5. Geinnam

    Geinnam Member

    That's a really good point, LostmySis. I was able to speak with my father yesterday about it. He told me that she is "at it again". Fortunately my brother was in town for an overnight visit. I hope that he won't turn a blind eye to the situation.
  6. dinomarino1

    dinomarino1 Member

    prescription drugs are a tough one because they can use any wide array of excuses as to why they need it. get her help if you fear it that bad. approach her with love and tell her as her son you're worried about her. you want her to be around for you. let her know you care
  7. Charli

    Charli Community Champion

    Your situation is very tricky because they are your parents and they have probably gotten used to telling you what to do and not the reverse so it's harder to get them to listen to you this time around. Not only that but prescription drugs are legal so they have a certain disguise of being automatically good for you. I think you should go to your doctor and look for substitutes and it's probably best to research the drugs yourself first before agreeing to take them. Often you'll find comments online that express what the side effects are more accurately.