Not As Prescribed: Recognizing and Facing Alcohol and Drug Misuse in Older Adults is a book by Dr. Harry Haroutunian and was published in paperback in April.

The book looks at how dramatic lifestyle changes, along with growing health problems, have led many people who are 50 and older to turn to alcohol, prescription painkillers and marijuana to medicate their physical and psychic pain.

You may think, “Dad is just enjoying cocktails and retirement” or “Mom still has pain and needs her pills.”

Maybe so, but consider this: An estimated 17 percent of people aged 60 and older struggle with substance misuse and addiction. Older adults are now hospitalized as often for alcohol-related problems as they are for heart attacks.

In this book, Haroutunian, physician director at Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation, provides information needed to understand the dynamics of addiction in older adults.

You’ll learn to:

  • Clearly distinguish between the signs of aging and the signs of addiction, many of which overlap
  • Identify the indications of drug misuse and its progression to addiction
  • Understand the unique treatment needs of older adults
  • Get the help you — as a caregiver or loved one — need to cope with your loved ones’ addiction
  • The guide can help you transform a state of stress and chaos to a place of understanding and compassion.

Haroutunian is an internationally known speaker and authority on addiction-oriented topics—including drug misuse among older adults— and is widely read online and has appeared on the Dr. Oz Show and Dr. Drew On Call and in the New York Times and Cosmopolitan. Board certified in both addiction and family medicine, he serves as physician director of professional and residential programs at the Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation in Rancho Mirage, Calif.