Substance Use Disorders in Late Life

  • Jeffrey DeVido
  • Calvin H. Hirsch
  • Nitika Sanger
  • Tea Rosic
  • Zainab Samaan
  • James A. Bourgeois


In older populations, substance use disorders are highly prevalent, often underdiagnosed and undertreated, and are associated with significant systemic medical and psychiatric comorbidity. Diagnostic criteria for substance use disorders have changed with the publication of the fifth edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, and these updated criteria are reviewed here. Furthermore, the epidemiology and proposed etiology of substance use disorders in late life are discussed. A particular focus is placed on reviewing the role of the psychiatrist in the evaluation and management of older adults with substance use disorders, especially when chronic pain is part of the clinical picture. Recommendations for evaluation and management of older adults with (or suspected to have) substance use disorders are outlined, and two case examples are provided to further solidify these concepts.


Substance use disorder Intoxication Withdrawal Addiction Dual diagnosis Psychopharmacology Psychotherapy 


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jeffrey DeVido
    • 1
  • Calvin H. Hirsch
    • 2
  • Nitika Sanger
    • 3
  • Tea Rosic
    • 4
  • Zainab Samaan
    • 4
  • James A. Bourgeois
    • 5
  1. 1.Behavioral Health and Recovery ServicesSan RafaelUSA
  2. 2.Division of General MedicineUniversity of California Davis Medical CenterSacramentoUSA
  3. 3.Medical Science Graduate ProgramMcMaster UniversityHamiltonCanada
  4. 4.McMaster UniversityHamiltonCanada
  5. 5.Baylor Scott and White Department of PsychiatryTexas A&M University College of MedicineTempleUSA

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