chapter  8
16 Pages

Substance Abuse Counseling with Older Adult Males (Ages 60 and Above)

The unfortunate truth about older adult males who are entering substance abuse treatment at age 60 or above is that if they have had a lifetime of chemical abuse, then there is a high likelihood that there will be physical health issues that will need to be addressed immediately, even before discussing the psychological, emotional, and relational aspects of their lives that will be central to their treatment. Years of saturating their bodies and brains with alcohol and/or other drugs have serious implications for their neurophysiology and for the health of their major organs (brain, heart, liver, etc.). Some of the apparent psychological and emotional challenges that we will see in the beginning of treatment may stem directly from biological causes, e.g., the physical health issues related to substance abuse and poor nutrition like thiamine defi ciency, which can be addressed through a change in diet and nutritional supplements that will aid in the recovery of mental capacities. Therefore, as it should be with every client that enters substance abuse treatment, it is imperative to have a full physical check-up to begin to address the physical health challenges of older adult males.