Reasons Seniors Might Use Drugs or Alcohol

The National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence, Inc. reports that trouble coping with changes, children moving out, and no longer having a job are significant factors that can result in addictive behavior in seniors. Memory loss, confusion, depression and mood changes can all be signs that an addiction is active. For seniors, the same symptoms that can indicate an alcohol or drug addiction can also indicate an early development of dementia or other cognitive issues.

Why Drug or Alcohol Addiction Is Often Misdiagnosed in Seniors

A Guide To Understanding And Helping Seniors Overcome Substance Use Disorders

Drug or alcohol addiction is often misdiagnosed because the symptoms look like other health conditions one would expect to see in a senior. In addition, seniors are less likely to report significant alcohol consumption or to admit to abusing illegal substances. Although “6-11% of elderly hospital admissions are a result of alcohol or drug problems”, it can be difficult to pinpoint which cases these are. Seniors who go to the doctor frequently for complaints that have no identifiable cause should be screened for alcohol or drug addiction, yet not many are. Lack of training in the signs of addiction in seniors will lead many health care providers to diagnose issues with dementia, memory loss, diabetes, or depression without getting to the root cause that is addiction.

When a Senior Needs Addiction Treatment

There are times when a senior is going to need addiction treatment in order to stop abusing substances. The goal for anyone struggling with addiction is the same, to stop relying on drugs or alcohol to begin living a healthier life. The treatment should be empathetic, with a clear message that addiction can be treated no matter the age of the person.

Some treatment providers don’t focus on addiction with seniors with the thought that it’s too late for treatment or it is not worth treating seniors for addiction. This is not fair for seniors who have an addiction that can be treated, as the quality of life for them can greatly improve. It doesn’t matter how much time a person may have left, as the quality of life should matter the most.

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, “While substance abuse in older adults often goes unrecognized and therefore untreated, research indicates that currently available addiction treatment programs can be as effective for them as younger adults.” It is important not to minimize the effects of substance abuse on the overall wellness of an individual, no matter what age they are. Treatment for addiction in seniors is both effective and important, giving seniors a better chance at living a healthy life.

How Treatment is Provided for Senior Substance Abuse

Any senior who comes forward wanting help for an addiction should be treated with empathy and respect. The communication should be clear and look at the variety of issues a senior may regularly face. It is when you take into consideration the way in which you communicate with an elderly individual and how you present topics, that treatment will be a different.

It is important to rule out any medical causes of the symptoms that are present. Substance abuse may not be the answer to a senior’s complaints of pain, confusion or depression. The loss of a spouse, job, or no longer being able to drive can all lead a one down a path of depression that is not caused by substance abuse. Careful evaluation is necessary to rule out underlying health problems in conjunction with screening for substance abuse issues.

Like anyone who is struggling with an addiction, seniors will benefit from a supportive atmosphere. When clients are able to talk about their struggles with addiction openly in a professional, empathetic atmosphere, true recovery can occur. It isn’t easy to admit you struggle with an addiction, but the help you find at a professional treatment center is worth taking the risk. Through peer support and learning relapse prevention strategies, seniors can withdraw safely from substances and move forward in their lives in a healthier way. Education around safe practices is important for anyone who needs help with addiction, but particularly true for seniors who may need a number of prescription medications to control health conditions.

When seniors learn about the effects drugs or alcohol are having on their cognition or physical abilities, they are better able to make sound decisions around drug or alcohol use. Some seniors start drinking “to take the edge off” without realizing their behavior is out of their control. Education can go a long way in helping a senior who has an addiction better understand what is going on with their health when they abuse substances.

Treatment Begins with Supervised Detox

The first step in any recovery program for seniors is to detox safely from the drugs or alcohol. This can be more complicated for seniors, who are overall less healthy than younger people and more susceptible to harsh symptoms of withdrawal. While people of any age experience withdrawal symptoms, the effects can be more detrimental for a senior who is trying to withdraw from substances.

After detox, it’s important to continue working on the emotional and behavioral pieces of addiction to gain a better handle on sobriety as a whole. A senior may be surprised to learn that they have an addiction and may not have realized the danger they were putting themselves in by mixing certain medications with alcohol.

Treatment providers are not always clear with seniors regarding medications and alcohol consumption. The thought that it’s too late for help is prevalent among treatment for seniors and is not the best way to manage addiction.

Medication interactions with both alcohol and illegal substances are a common reason for emergency room visits, especially for those who take more than one type of medication. Individual therapy is always recommended for anyone who struggles with addiction. Therapy provides seniors with a person to talk to who is going to have a neutral position when it comes to their substance use issues.

While a senior may have trouble talking to a family member or friend about their addiction, a therapist is easier to talk to. Seniors need to have a safe person to talk to when it comes to an addiction and treatment.

Treatment for addiction in seniors is not only possible, it is essential to the health and well-being of those living with addiction who are older. The best facilities offer seniors a safe, supportive environment to learn more about addiction and withdraw from substances effectively.The treatment involves working closely with a counselor, attending group sessions, and learning about the effects that drugs or alcohol can have on the mind and body. Through a careful look at personal habits and attitudes, it is possible to recover from addiction no matter what age an individual is.

Reasons Seniors Might Use Drugs or Alcohol

The reasons seniors might turn to drugs or alcohol are universal. Many recovery facilities treat seniors who began using substances out of loneliness after a loss of a spouse, siblings or friends. Seniors are at a higher risk for isolation, and this can bring out addictive behavior in some individuals. As navigating life becomes more difficult, some turn to drugs or alcohol for comfort. Like other adults, some seniors become addicted to prescription pain killers and don’t know how to stop or even realize they have an addiction to overcome.

What Drug or Alcohol Addiction Looks Like with Seniors

Drug or alcohol addiction among seniors generally has a subtler appearance. While a working adult might struggle getting to work each day or show signs of physical health problems, an older adult doesn’t generally have a tight schedule to keep. Drug or alcohol addiction signs can be easier to miss, as older adults are also showing signs of deteriorating health because of age.

Signs that a senior is struggling with a drug or alcohol addiction include:

    • Habitual drinking that is a routine that can’t be broken.
    • Drinking at home alone or using substances in private. Using medications off-label and requiring additional prescriptions. A senior may state that a pain medication has been lost or stolen in an effort to get more.
    • Newly developed depression or a lack of interest in regular activities. While loss of ability can lead to a lack of interest in participating in activities, so can substance abuse.
    • Frequent trips to medical providers complaining of pain that does not have an identifiable source.
    • Chronic use of sleep aids or tranquilizers.
    • Getting intoxicated despite serious prescription medication warnings.
    • Confusion or memory loss that comes and goes with no clear reason why.

Keeping our brain healthy from birth to 100

Keeping our brain healthy from birth to 100

December 1,2018 at JCC in Palo Alto California

Speakers and event sponsors are welcome. All older adults are invited.

2-5pm, Bldg D room

Tips for healthy brain

Other speakers:
Connie Dello Buono – Health blogger and Motherhealth caregivers founder at www.clubalthea.com

Contact motherhealth@gmail.com for details or text 408-854-1883

Oshman Family Jewish Community Center, Room in Building D.

bldg D.JPG

Flyer

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Ketamine and Psychedelic Drugs Change Structure of Neurons

Ketamine and Psychedelic Drugs Change Structure of Neurons

Summary: A new study reveals psychedelics increase dendrites, dendritic spines and synapses, while ketamine may promote neuroplasticity. The findings could help develop new treatments for anxiety, depression and other related disorders.

Source: UC Davis.

A team of scientists at the University of California, Davis is exploring how hallucinogenic drugs impact the structure and function of neurons — research that could lead to new treatments for depression, anxiety, and related disorders. In a paper published on June 12 in the journal Cell Reports, they demonstrate that a wide range of psychedelic drugs, including well-known compounds such as LSD and MDMA, increase the number of neuronal branches (dendrites), the density of small protrusions on these branches (dendritic spines), and the number of connections between neurons (synapses). These structural changes suggest that psychedelics are capable of repairing the circuits that are malfunctioning in mood and anxiety disorders.

“People have long assumed that psychedelics are capable of altering neuronal structure, but this is the first study that clearly and unambiguously supports that hypothesis. What is really exciting is that psychedelics seem to mirror the effects produced by ketamine,” said David Olson, assistant professor in the Departments of Chemistry and of Biochemistry and Molecular Medicine, who leads the research team.

Ketamine, an anesthetic, has been receiving a lot of attention lately because it produces rapid antidepressant effects in treatment-resistant populations, leading the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to fast-track clinical trials of two antidepressant drugs based on ketamine. The antidepressant properties of ketamine may stem from its tendency to promote neural plasticity — the ability of neurons to rewire their connections.

“The rapid effects of ketamine on mood and plasticity are truly astounding. The big question we were trying to answer was whether or not other compounds are capable of doing what ketamine does,” Olson said.

Psychedelics show similar effects to ketamine

Olson’s group has demonstrated that psychedelics mimic the effects of ketamine on neurons grown in a dish, and that these results extend to structural and electrical properties of neurons in animals. Rats treated with a single dose of DMT — a psychedelic compound found in the Amazonian herbal tea known as ayahuasca — showed an increase in the number of dendritic spines, similar to that seen with ketamine treatment. DMT itself is very short-lived in the rat: Most of the drug is eliminated within an hour. But the “rewiring” effects on the brain could be seen 24 hours later, demonstrating that these effects last for some time.

image shows neurons under psychedelics and ketamine

Behavioral studies also hint at the similarities between psychedelics and ketamine. In another recent paper published in ACS Chemical Neuroscience, Olson’s group showed that DMT treatment enabled rats to overcome a “fear response” to the memory of a mild electric shock. This test is considered to be a model of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and interestingly, ketamine produces the same effect. Recent clinical trials have shown that like ketamine, DMT-containing ayahuasca might have fast-acting effects in people with recurrent depression, Olson said.

These discoveries potentially open doors for the development of novel drugs to treat mood and anxiety disorders, Olson said. His team has proposed the term “psychoplastogen” to describe this new class of “plasticity-promoting” compounds.

“Ketamine is no longer our only option. Our work demonstrates that there are a number of distinct chemical scaffolds capable of promoting plasticity like ketamine, providing additional opportunities for medicinal chemists to develop safer and more effective alternatives,” Olson said.

ABOUT THIS NEUROSCIENCE RESEARCH ARTICLE

Additional coauthors on the Cell Reports study are Calvin Ly, Alexandra Greb, Sina Soltanzadeh Zarandi, Lindsay Cameron, Jonathon Wong, Eden Barragan, Paige Wilson, Michael Paddy, Kassandra Ori-McKinney, Kyle Burbach, Megan Dennis, Alexander Sood, Whitney Duim, Kimberley McAllister, and John Gray.

Olson and Cameron were coauthors on the ACS Chemical Neuroscience paper along with Charlie Benson and Lee Dunlap.

Funding: The work was partly supported by grants from the National Institutes of Health.

Source: Andy Fell – UC Davis 
Publisher: Organized by NeuroscienceNews.com.
Image Source: NeuroscienceNews.com image is credited to Calvin and Joanne Ly.
Original Research: Open access research for “Psychedelics Promote Structural and Functional Neural Plasticity” by Calvin Ly, Alexandra C. Greb, Lindsay P. Cameron, Jonathan M. Wong, Eden V. Barragan, Paige C. Wilson, Kyle F. Burbach, Sina Soltanzadeh Zarandi, Alexander Sood, Michael R. Paddy, Whitney C. Duim, Megan Y. Dennis, A. Kimberley McAllister, Kassandra M. Ori-McKenney, John A. Gray, and David E. Olson in Current Biology. Published April 6 2018
doi:10.1016/j.celrep.2018.05.022

CITE THIS NEUROSCIENCENEWS.COM ARTICLE
UC Davis “Ketamine and Psychedelic Drugs Change Structure of Neurons.” NeuroscienceNews. NeuroscienceNews, 12 June 2018.
<http://neurosciencenews.com/ketamine-psychedelics-neuron-structure-9314/&gt;.

Abstract

Psychedelics Promote Structural and Functional Neural Plasticity

Highlights
•Serotonergic psychedelics increase neuritogenesis, spinogenesis, and synaptogenesis
•Psychedelics promote plasticity via an evolutionarily conserved mechanism
•TrkB, mTOR, and 5-HT2A signaling underlie psychedelic-induced plasticity
•Noribogaine, but not ibogaine, is capable of promoting structural neural plasticity

Summary
Atrophy of neurons in the prefrontal cortex (PFC) plays a key role in the pathophysiology of depression and related disorders. The ability to promote both structural and functional plasticity in the PFC has been hypothesized to underlie the fast-acting antidepressant properties of the dissociative anesthetic ketamine. Here, we report that, like ketamine, serotonergic psychedelics are capable of robustly increasing neuritogenesis and/or spinogenesis both in vitro and in vivo. These changes in neuronal structure are accompanied by increased synapse number and function, as measured by fluorescence microscopy and electrophysiology. The structural changes induced by psychedelics appear to result from stimulation of the TrkB, mTOR, and 5-HT2A signaling pathways and could possibly explain the clinical effectiveness of these compounds. Our results underscore the therapeutic potential of psychedelics and, importantly, identify several lead scaffolds for medicinal chemistry efforts focused on developing plasticity-promoting compounds as safe, effective, and fast-acting treatments for depression and related disorders.

Growth hormone (GH) , asthma meds and muscle quality

Growth hormone (GH) and muscle quality

GH production drops by 60% at age 60. A senior who had been taking asthma meds for a long time experienced severe neck and shoulder bone fracture from a fall.  Know that some meds can impair muscle quality.

The following factors influence GH secretion spike by the pituitary gland in the brain:

Factors Increasing GH Secretion Factors Decreasing GH Secretion
Physiological: Physiological:
Sleep Hyperglycemia
Fasting Elevated Blood Free Fatty Acids
Exercise Obesity
High Amino Acids
in the Blood
Hyper or Hypothyroidism
Low Blood Sugar  
Pharmacologic: Pharmacologic:
Any hypoglycemic agent GH itself
Estrogens Somatostatin
Alpha-agonists Alpha antagonists (yohimbine)
Beta antagonists Beta agonists (ephedrine, clenbuterol)
Serotonin Serotonin antagonists
Dopamine Dopamine antagonists
GABA  

Source: Basic and Clinical Endocrinology, 5th Edition

Muscle regeneration

Muscle growth and capacity to regenerate upon injury are faster for skeletal muscle but poor for cardiac muscle especially for young ones.

A greater capacity for regeneration of cardiac muscle is seen in fish. Fish oil, folate, Vitamin Bs, Coenzyme Q10 and omega 3 dietary supplements are important for our heart muscles.

Skeletal muscle has an excellent capacity for regeneration.  Inflammation and innervation makes regeneration suboptimal for seniors.

As we age, our cardiac muscles are easily affected even from those who have regular exercise and eat healthy.

Muscle regeneration is the process by which damaged skeletal, smooth or cardiac muscle undergoes biological repair and formation of new muscle in response to death of muscle cells.

Key Concepts:

  • Necrosis is required for muscle regeneration.
  • Inflammation is essential to remove necrotic tissue and initiate myogenesis.
  • New blood vessel formation is required after major injury of muscles.
  • Reinnervation is essential for functional recovery of skeletal muscle.

Adult skeletal muscle is a postmitotic tissue, accomplished by resident stem cells, satellite glial cells (SGCs). Current theories suggest that SGCs are important in controlling the microenvironment of the sympathetic ganglia.

SGCs role as a regulator of neuronal microenvironment is further characterized by its electrical properties which are very similar to those of astrocytes. Astrocytes have a well-studied and defined role in controlling the microenvironment within the brain.

MS drug may be linked to increased risk of leukemia and colorectal cancer

cancer cells

Abnormal eating times disrupt the skin’s circadian cycle and weight gain – brain