How Addiction Affects Each Generation
When it comes to an addiction, your age and the generation you are a part of can have a major impact on how you respond to this condition. The causes and factors surrounding addiction vary greatly according to how old a person is, as the reason for dependent behavior can be rooted in significant life events which revolve around a person’s age. How an addiction can affect a person differs based on many various factors, including socio-economic status, the presence of co-occurring disorders, and a history of trauma. But age is an often-forgotten element when it comes to putting together important parts of the picture.
The Role Age Plays in Addiction
The reasons why a person will end up developing a serious addiction can be significantly influenced by their particular age group. For instance, binge drinking is a significant problem for individuals aged 18-25, as peer pressure can play a role in convincing someone to drink. But for people aged 40-64, the same type of social pressure in regards to drinking will not as prevalent. However, this generation struggles more with prescription drug abuse, due to it being widely available and often prescribed for medical conditions which can impact an older population.
This fact can be illustrated by a recent statistics from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration (SAMHSA) which detail the differences between specific age groups in relation to one’s age. The rate at which U.S. adolescents aged 12-17 developed a substance addiction was 5% in 2014, or approximately 1.3 million individuals. People aged 18-25 have the highest rate of substance abuse across the board, as this group is particular vulnerable to struggling with addiction.
Although painkillers and opioids are a big concern for an older generation in regards to becoming addicted, it is actually the millennial generation which struggles the most with a prescription drug addiction. Studies have shown how this particular section of the population is much more likely to abuse things such as Vicodin, Adderall, and OxyContin than they are marijuana. This differs from the drug of choice for baby boomers, as this group was more likely to use marijuana, cocaine, and psychedelics during their youth.
One of the reasons researchers speculate that millennials are struggling more with prescription drugs abuse than their parents is due to the fact that mental health issues have become more common. It is thought that the rise in ‘helicopter parenting’, where many millennials were overly protected from the world, is a factor in why this generation is finding itself more prone to become addicted to prescription drugs. The Good Men Project states that because these individuals have been stripped of their mental defenses, their ability to deal with life in a healthy way can be reduced, increasing the likelihood of resorting to negative coping skills.
However, older individuals also struggle with addiction, as this generation is prone to abuse things such as Fentanyl, opioids, and other prescription drugs. In fact, addiction has become one of the leading causes of death among people aged 40-64. Individuals who are 25-35 still have the highest rate of death as a result of an overdose, highlighting how drug addiction is impacting a younger generation more intensely than the older generation.
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How Treatment Differs According to One’s Age
The route a clinician will take in order to properly treat a patient’s addiction can be very different depending on how old the person is. A treatment plan for a married 50 year-old addicted to drugs or alcohol will look much different than a single person in their late teens. Financial pressure, health concerns, and life stress can be a major source of addiction for someone who is in their middle age.
The most effective approach to providing substance abuse treatment which works is to take a holistic approach to a person’s unique circumstances, including their age demographic group. Certain methods of intervention are specifically designed to work best with a targeted age group, making the selection of a particular treatment modality especially important. A skilled clinician will be able to efficiently navigate a person towards recovery by helping to address the underlying cause for their addiction.
For older adults, treatment may include an assessment of one’s finances, career, mental acuity, and family dynamics in order to gain insight into the causes of a person’s condition. It may include an approach which takes into account health and wellness concerns, conditions which may be specific to a person’s age. It may also include the importance of rediscovering meaning and purpose in life as a way to overcome a crippling addiction.
If you or someone you love is struggling with an addiction and needs to find a way forward that works, contact the caring professionals at Desert Cove Recovery. We treat all age groups and work directly with our clients to address their unique concerns and circumstances. Our trusted team will help guide you through the recovery process, working directly with you to create a treatment plan that will have you on the path to a new lease on life.