The senior population, those 65 and older, is booming, and according to the U.S. Census Bureau is set to reach 83.7 million by 2050, nearly double the population of that age group in 2012.

Sadly, senior citizens are especially susceptible to alcohol and drug abuse. In fact, according to the Institute of Medicine, 1 in 5 people 65 or older have one or more mental health or substance abuse conditions.

As a December 2014 Dallas Morning News article explains, there are a couple of reasons for the prevalence of addiction in this age group:

1) Compared to other generations, Baby Boomers were more likely to be exposed to substance use as they “came of age.”

2) It is a reaction to factors such as loneliness and depression that can come with old age.

Unfortunately, confusion often exists around the role Medicare can play in covering the costs of addiction recovery for seniors. Following is a resource guide for the elderly who are seeking information on how they can get treatment through Medicare.

Are You Addicted? Signs You Have a Problem Checklist
❏ Are you taking more than your prescribed dosage?

❏ Are you mixing your prescription medicines with alcohol?

❏ Are you drinking more than 3-4 drinks per day?

❏ Are you having trouble sleeping or sleeping more during the day?

❏ Have you visited multiple doctors to get prescribed the same medication?

❏ Are you having trouble balancing?

❏ Are you having memory problems?

Are you taking more of than your prescribed dosage? As Family Doctor explains, the elderly often take more prescribed drugs than other populations and therefore are at greater risk of abusing the medicines. If you’re running out of your prescription more quickly than usual, taking it more frequently, or taking more than the prescribed dosage, it is possible that you are abusing your prescription, and you should seek help.