Baby Boomers and Addiction
There is a phenomenon that is occurring where baby boomers in their 50’s and 60’s are abusing drugs and alcohol in record numbers. In some ways we really have been a generation of excess. We came from a hard-working previous generation, where jobs were plentiful, the country was rebuilding after war time, and our parents wanted us to have what they were deprived of. We were raised with good values and a strong work ethic. We have also seen the fastest growth of technology than what the world probably ever imagined. When you think of how short of a period of time since electricity was produced, the first automobile, airplanes, telecommunications; from Morse code to hand held computers, it’s no wonder that we have come to expect results on an instant notice. Now; if we are not served food in less than five minutes, someone is apologizing to us. We have become a society that expects quick resolution to all of our country’s problems. We have been conditioned to this kind of society by how we approach simple tasks. If we want a light we flip on a switch and light is produced, if we want water we turn on a faucet which instantly produces it, if we want money we pull out a plastic card and run up credit or, debit it from our account. We also expect the same instantaneous results when we are not feeling well either physically or emotionally. We have become the first generation where we go to the doctor and tell him which drug we want to be placed on because we saw it on the television. Pharmaceutical companies have learned that they can market to us and we will storm the doctor’s office, expecting the latest drug that will take care of what ails us. Young people are abusing pharmaceuticals in record numbers and are quickly following in line to become the next addicted generation. We need to develop programs specifically to treat an aged population that is presenting itself for substance use disorders. Some of the same issues that youth blame use of drugs on, needs to be addressed. These include using out of boredom and a loss of self esteem to feelings of not being worthwhile. Problems unique to older populations are dealing with an aging body and coping without pharmaceuticals, finding new things to do and engage in, getting exercise and proper nutrition and developing support networks where they can process these issues without being shamed or discounted. There is an article in the Miami Herald that further discusses the prevalence of drug use in the Boomer Generation. Click Here for the Article.