According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), more than 1 million adults aged 65 or older had a substance use disorder (SUD) in 2014. The report states that illicit drug use is expected to increase with this population from 2.2% to 3.1% by year 2020; with that being said, many older adults are turning to substances to mask symptoms of mental illness. With the chaos and stress of health issues such as chronic pain, finances, job and retirement-related concerns and more, it’s an unfortunate reality that many older adults are turning to substances for self-medication. Rather than turning to substances, however, meditation is an excellent and healthy way to improve your health and well-being while effectively managing life’s challenges.
First, what is meditation? Meditation is the practice of building awareness in the present moment. Often centered around breathing and focus, meditation helps people gently bring their mind to what matters most – their experience right now. It’s challenging and does take lots of practice, but mindfulness has been proven in many studies to transform the brain’s structure, even lifting symptoms of depression and anxiety. When you meditate, your breath and heart rate slows down, while your blood pressure and stress decreases – ultimately improving functioning throughout the rest of your body.
According to U.S. News, meditation has a plethora of benefits for the older adult population:
- Improve short and long-term memory
- Help retain cognitive function such as attention, processing speed, and more
- Improves circulation and oxygen in the blood, helping digestive and circulation processes
- Decreases stress and induces a calming effect
- Decreases feelings of loneliness
Substance abuse among older adults is a growing health concern in the United States, along with prescription drug misuse. Many people turn to substances to try and suppress unwanted symptoms; while this seems to be a temporary fix, oftentimes the symptoms can come back even worse than before – leading to the development of another condition if the situation worsens. If you’re interested in practicing meditation, speak with a professional from a reputable treatment center today. You may find the benefits to be completely transformative – it has helped thousands of people and it can help you, too.
From the mountains to the coastline, the possibilities of living a life without limits are endless. At Tree House Recovery in Orange County, California, we’re helping men recover their lives from addiction through innovative treatment designed to transform their lives inside and out. For information, call to speak with one of our graduates: (855) 202-2138