Robert C. Gibson– Managing Director Crossroads Behavioral Health Center and Crossroads Substance Abuse Services Group

Crossroads Behavioral Health Center and Crossroads Substance Abuse Services located at 708 Goodlette Frank Rd. Naples FL 34102, offers a unique treatment program designed for retirees and professionals who wish to address their drinking or drug use, and seek to make an improvement in their lives. In the arena of health and wellness, addiction is a challenge, transcending age and circumstance. For many retired professionals who are grappling with addiction, this battle often unfolds in confounding secrecy, hidden behind a cloak of defensiveness and denial. Within the family, reactions range from concern to exasperation, anger and resentment. The emotional toll exacted by addiction for the individual and the family further complicates the situation, as those affected grapple with feelings of shame, stigma, denial, and isolation. In this fragile emotional ecosystem, hopelessness casts doubt on the possibility of ever breaking free from the relentless cycle of addiction.

With both afternoon and evening sessions, Crossroads Intensive Outpatient (IOP) recovery program provides a more supportive, confidential, and tailored environment for individuals who have unique needs and concerns related to their professional lives. By providing a specialized program for retirees and professionals, individuals in recovery can increase their likelihood of successfully overcoming addiction and maintaining their sobriety over the long term. Crossroads offers a balance between the flexibility of outpatient treatment and the structured support of inpatient treatment.

The Rise of Substance Abuse among Seniors:

Until a few years ago, even as the opioid epidemic raged, health providers and researchers paid limited attention to drug use by older adults; concerns focused on the younger, working-age victims who were hardest hit. But as baby boomers have turned 65, the age at which they typically qualify for Medicare, substance use disorders among the older population have climbed steeply.

Evidence of a growing problem has been stacking up. A 2020 Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services study of opioid use disorder in people over 65 enrolled in traditional Medicare showed a threefold increase in just five years — to 15.7 cases per 1,000 in 2018 from 4.6 cases per 1,000 in 2013. Furthermore, the study indicated that the stigma of drug use, lead people to underreport it, so the true rate of the disorder is significantly higher.

Upward Trends in Alcohol Abuse in Older Adults:

Alcohol use in older adults has been trending upward over the years, particularly among women. One epidemiologic survey determined that in the United States between 2001 and 2013, among people 65 and older, the rate of alcohol use disorder increased 107%. The University of Michigan’s 2021 National Poll on Healthy Aging found that there was a significant growing subset of older adults exceeding the recommended guidelines for alcohol use. In particular, 20% of respondents drank alcohol four or more times per week; 27% reported having six or more drinks on at least one occasion in the past year; and 7% reported alcohol-related blackouts.

Negative Effects of Alcohol Use in Older Adults:

Drinking too much alcohol has negative physical and mental health consequences, including heart and liver problems, memory issues, mood disorders, as well as an increased risk of cancer and a weakened immune system. In addition, age-related changes in the body place older adults who drink alcohol at additional risk. Older adults have increased sensitivity to the effects of alcohol because they typically metabolize alcohol more slowly. Lean body mass also declines with age, and with less muscle to absorb alcohol, older adults feel the effects of alcohol more quickly, even with consumption of lower amounts of alcohol than when they were younger. Older women are at higher risk of these effects compared with older men. Combined with other physical changes in the body due to age, older adults who drink alcohol are susceptible to falls, bone fractures, and other unintentional injuries. Given that many older adults are taking multiple prescription medications, another important concern for this age group is the dangerous and sometimes fatal consequence of mixing medications with alcohol.

The Rising Number of Retirees and Professionals Suffering from Drug Addiction and Alcoholism is a Complex Issue With Various Contributing Factors:

  1. Stress and Pressure: Professionals often face high levels of stress and pressure in their careers. The demands of the job, long working hours, and the constant need to perform can lead to mental health issues. To cope with these pressures, individuals may turn to drugs or alcohol as a means of escape or relaxation.
  2. Retirement Transition: Retirees often experience a sense of loss of purpose and identity when they leave their careers. This transition can be challenging, and some retirees turn to increased alcohol consumption and substance abuse as a way to fill the void or deal with feelings of boredom and isolation.
  3. Accessibility: Accessibility to drugs and alcohol plays a significant role. Retirees and professionals typically have the financial means to afford drugs or alcohol, and they may be exposed to social settings where substance use is normalized.
  4. Mental Health: Underlying mental health issues, such as depression, anxiety, or trauma, can contribute to drug addiction and alcoholism. Numerous studies have shown that people self-medicate with substances to alleviate their emotional pain.
  5. Prescription Medications: Both retirees and professionals often develop addiction issues due to the misuse of prescription medications, particularly opioids and benzodiazepines, which may have been initially prescribed for pain management or anxiety.
  6. Lack of Support: Stigma surrounding addiction and mental health issues can deter retirees and professionals from seeking help. The fear of professional repercussions or social isolation prevents individuals from reaching out for assistance.
  7. Peer Pressure: Often in retirement as well as In certain professions, there is often a culture of alcohol and substance use, making it difficult for individuals to abstain or seek help when they see their peers engaging in similar behaviors.

Addressing the rising number of retirees and professionals suffering from drug addiction and alcoholism requires a multifaceted approach. Crossroads has addressed this alarming trend and developed a separate intensive outpatient program (IOP) addiction recovery program for retirees and professionals that has proven to be successful and important for several reasons:

  1. Confidentiality: Retirees and professionals in high-profile positions are often hesitant to seek treatment for addiction in traditional rehab or outpatient programs due to concerns about confidentiality. A separate program specifically designed for these individuals provides a more discreet and confidential environment, which increases the likelihood that they will seek and receive treatment.
  2. Unique Needs: Retirees and professionals have unique needs and challenges in addiction recovery, such as concerns about their careers or the impact of addiction on their reputations. A separate program can address these needs and provide specialized support and resources for their long-term recovery.
  3. Supportive Environment: Crossroads provides a supportive environment with other clients who are facing similar challenges and experiences. This helps individuals in recovery feel less isolated and increases their motivation to engage in treatment and maintain their sobriety.
  4. Tailored Treatment: Crossroads professional track IOP programs provide tailored treatment that addresses the specific needs and challenges of retirees and professionals in recovery. The program includes components such as stress management, grief counseling, and relapse prevention strategies that are tailored to the unique needs of each individual.


The Need for Destigmatizing Alcohol and Substance Abuse Treatment

The critical need to destigmatize alcohol and substance abuse treatment cannot be overstated, as it is essential to foster an environment of understanding and empathy for individuals grappling with addiction. Crossroads Substance Abuse Services Group, recognizing the profound impact of stigma, particularly retirees and professionals seeking help, has spearheaded innovative initiatives aimed at dismantling the pervasive societal misconceptions surrounding addiction. By actively promoting a culture of inclusivity and non-judgment, Crossroads has created a safe and nurturing space where individuals feel empowered to share their struggles without fear of condemnation or discrimination.

Crossroads’ commitment to providing personalized, evidence-based care underscores its dedication to treating each client with the utmost respect and dignity. By offering a holistic range of therapeutic interventions, including cognitive-behavioral therapy, group counseling, and family support programs, Crossroads tailors its treatment plans to meet the unique needs of each person, ensuring a comprehensive and integrated approach to recovery. This personalized care, coupled with a strong emphasis on post-treatment support and relapse prevention strategies, serves to reinforce the message that seeking help is not a sign of weakness but a courageous step towards reclaiming one’s life.

Through its unwavering efforts to destigmatize alcohol and substance abuse treatment, Crossroads Substance Abuse Services Group has not only transformed the lives of countless individuals but has also set a powerful precedent for the broader healthcare community. By advocating for a more compassionate and understanding approach to addiction, Crossroads continues to pave the way for a more inclusive and supportive treatment landscape, emphasizing that every individual deserves the opportunity to embark on a journey of healing and recovery without the burden of societal stigma.

If you or a loved one is considering mental health or addiction treatment, emotions surrounding this decision can be quite complex and confusing.  You may recognize that you are experiencing more than normal difficulties in your life. You may have persistent feelings of sadness, anxiety, or hopelessness- yet resistance is blocking you. You may acknowledge that substance use, or addictive behaviors are causing significant disruptions and emotional difficulties in your life, yet the resistance is strong. Crossroads Substance Abuse Services Group is a gateway to a better healthier life, free of the dependence of alcohol and drugs.

Please feel confident to contact us at (239) 692.1020 to learn more about Crossroads and our programs. We strive to promote a safe and helpful environment that supports each individual’s unique journey to long term growth, well-being, and recovery.