Brenda Iliff

One of the problems of addiction in the elderly population is that it is underdiagnosed. Brenda Iliff, Executive Director with Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation, talks about this disease and its medical concerns. Where to go after a treatment for addiction? Brenda Iliff, Executive Director with Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation, talks about care groups, apps, online social networks, among others, to seek for post-treatment support. What should you do if you think someone has an addiction, especially if they are older people? Brenda Iliff, Executive Director with Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation, gives us some signs and symptoms that would suggest an older adult is struggling with an addiction. Self-reliant generation, forgetfulness, and drug cultures in the 60s and 70s are some causes of addiction in older populations. Brenda Iliff, Executive Director with Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation, talks about the growing number of adults and what things can trigger addiction in them. After receiving treatment for addiction, how is life for older people? Brenda Iliff, Executive Director with Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation, explains how they provide help, care, and clinical interventions so older people can have more chances of success. To treat addiction in the baby boomer generation, it is important to incorporate health and wellness concerns. Brenda Iliff, Executive Director with Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation, talks about how they can focus on rediscovering purpose in life and how doctors help them to cover the stigma of addiction. Alcohol is socially acceptable and it’s legal, says Brenda Iliff, Executive Director with Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation.
The expert says alcohol overdoses in older people are labeled as fall or as a heart attack.
She affirms the U.S. health care system is overwhelmed with addictions, which they can be alcohol and drugs, but they can also be food: the obesity epidemic. Addictions include chemical use and chemical abuse, explains Brenda Iliff, Executive Director with Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation.

She advises being alert to warning signs, such as less self-esteem, self-acceptance problems or constantly thinking about when to take the next pill to feel better. Emotional pain and physical pain are some causes of stress in older people. Brenda Iliff, Executive Director with Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation, explains these and more stressors in life, and why it is important to look at the mental health stressors, but also the medical ones of older people. The World Health Organization says 50% of the time, addiction is hereditary. However, most people do use drugs to try something through their life.
Other risk factors might be socioeconomic, trauma, accessibility of drugs, explains Brenda Iliff, Executive Director with Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation.
The expert also says a lot of people are using drugs in moderation, for feeling well. But for people with certain risk factors, their chances of becoming addicted are much greater. Addiction is a chronic disease. And as in any chronic disease, the success of the treatment is seen days after it has been realized, says Brenda Iliff, Executive Director with Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation.
The expert explains in her Foundation, during the treatment, that they do a lot of education, therapy and support groups, but that after the treatment, when patients enter the community they also analyze how they can help them in their continuous recovery.
Community is very important in the recovery process, because its support helps patients in daily life. In the late 90s, Pardue Pharmacy introduced Oxycodone, a very highly addictive drug for pain, explains Brenda Iliff, Executive Director with Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation.
The expert also talks about drug trifecta: opioids, alcohol and benzos. Trifecta refers to depressants active in a lot of the overdoses.
She explains benzodiazepines are anxiety pills, but they’re also sleeping pills. Benzos can slow people down, because they have opiates.
She affirms they see the trifecta a lot: mix of opioids, alcohol and benzos and this mix can be fatal. Access to any drug makes it more likely that people abuse and if they cross the line, it is called addiction, affirms Brenda Iliff, Executive Director with Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation,
The risk of overdose for opioids is so huge even when people go to treatment, as well as in people who may even have had a short period of sobriety, the expert says.
She says both education and hope are very important when addictions happen. Importantly, there’s hope that someone can get out of this problem.
The first step in order to get treatment is asking for help, she adds. There are many different treatment options for addictions, affirms Brenda Iliff, Executive Director with Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation and says in her foundation they have published a lot of books about that.
The expert explains different treatments for age groups. For young people, until 24, the treatment is based in their behavior.
For older people, they work on education about addictions, she says,
She affirms that the treatments must be personalized, according to the needs of each patient.

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