What if Dad is 80 and Possibly Addicted to Pain Meds?

Older Family Members and Pain Medication

Trudy has a question: “My dad is 80 years old and I’m worried that he’s addicted to pain meds… How can I help him?”

It’s a sticky question and one that can’t really be answered in simplistic or black and white ways. Some might simply say, “What the heck? He’s 80!” Others may think he needs rehab. Much about how to deal with loved ones who might be addicted can be learned in groups like Al-Anon or Nar-Anon. And a big key is in the patience it takes to allow people the dignity of arriving at their own conclusions about drug use or alcohol consumption. Roc & Doc talk more about it in this latest episode.

It’s difficult to answer this question in much detail because there is a lot of information behind the question that we don’t really know and we don’t like to make assumptions about whether or not a person is addicted to pain meds from a single question.

But from what we do know, we can offer this. There seems to still be some question in your mind about whether he really is addicted. It would require a thorough assessment to help determine that. Unless he arrives at that conclusion on his own. Things get a little easier after that. But in the meantime, you can always express your concerns to him and let him know that you love him no matter what.

Al-Anon and Nar-Anon are great groups for loved ones who have such questions. They are especially good because they help loved ones care for themselves rather than try to “fix” the people they’re worried about. One of the main principles taught in these groups is to allow each individual the dignity of arriving at their own conclusions about whether or not they have a problem with addiction.




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