Treatment by Age: Treatment Differences Across the Lifespan

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Last Updated on May 27, 2021 by

According to research, treatment by age is the most successful addiction treatment types are tailored to the individual. Patients prefer to remain enrolled for more extended periods because the approaches and strategies are adaptive to a patient’s unique characteristics. They tend to stay sober as a result. When talking about this type of customization, providers also bring up mental health issues. Co-occurring conditions like schizophrenia and bipolar disorder can make rehabilitation more difficult for people with addictions. However, when a person’s age is the deciding factor, patients’ treatment needs will change drastically as they get older.

Addiction and mental health issues are becoming more prevalent among middle and high school students. In a study of 1,875 students, 35% said they had tried drugs or alcohol before 18. We must determine why students use drugs and how they access them and how treatment by age will help them. According to studies, the sooner a person is exposed to drugs or alcohol, the more likely they are to develop an addiction later in life. Alcohol remains the most prevalent drug among teenagers, according to the 2017 Monitoring the Future Survey, with marijuana coming in second.

The study also found that marijuana use among adolescents increased by 1.3 per cent per year, with 10% of eighth-graders, 26% of tenth graders, and 37% of 12th graders reporting regular marijuana use. The annual incidence of illegal drug usage, including inhalants, increased dramatically across the three age groups.

Since the brain continues to grow until around 25, substance abuse in adolescence and early adulthood presents serious risks, especially to the prefrontal cortex. At the age of 18, the brain region responsible for effective decision making and the ability to prepare to achieve a goal is substantially less functional. As a result, drug-abusing teenagers are more likely to struggle with impulsivity, decision-making, and social pressure than non-abusing teenagers.

The Relationship Between Age and Drug Addiction

Addiction usually starts at a young age, and teenagers and young adults have the highest addiction rates. Drug abuse starts from using prescription medications. On the other hand, it is now more common in the elderly and adults. The type of substance abuse appears to be determined by the age of drug use initiation. Using substances at a young age is associated with a greater probability of illegal substance use.  

Adults and Drug Addiction

People over the age of 25 who have a substance misuse problem may be categorized as early-onset or late-onset drug users. People in the early-onset community begin smoking, drinking, and using marijuana before the age of 20 and are more likely to develop an illegal drug addiction. People in the late-onset population are more likely to misuse prescription medications because they can’t use them until they are 20 years old, according to the NSDUH annual report in 2017.

  • 6.4 per cent of people aged 26 and up (including older people) suffer from a drug use disorder.
  • Just 0.8 per cent of the adults in this group used marijuana, while 5% had an alcohol addiction problem.
  • Only 2% of this population used illicit drugs, with only 0.7% abusing opioids.
  • In this group, 0.6% of people used multiple drugs.
  • A co-occurring drug use disorder and a severe mental health condition affect about 1.6 per cent of people.

Retired People

According to SAMHSA statistics, there are approximately 43.1 million people aged 65 and up in the United States. By 2030, this demographic group is projected to make up about 20% of the overall U.S. population. Fifty-eight thousand people over the age of 54 were admitted to federally funded treatment centres in 2001.

Around 17% of adults over the age of 61 abuse alcohol or misuse prescription drugs, and these figures are projected to increase as the baby boomer generation ages. In the United States, almost three out of every ten people aged 57 to 85 use at least five prescription medications. Benzodiazepines and opioids are two of the most widely prescribed drugs for the elderly.

When they hit the age of 60, the number of older adults with substance use disorders remains relatively stable. After that, the prevalence of these conditions fell to about 6%.

Related Results Are Highlighted in Data from The 2015 NSDUH:

  • In 2014, only 25.8% of people aged 65 and up had ever used illicit drugs in their lives, compared to 53.8 per cent for those aged 60 to 64 and more than 50% for each age group from 19 to 59.
  • In 2014, the incidence of heavy alcohol use was lower (2.2 per cent) among adults aged 65 and up than among all other adult age groups.

According to NSDUH data from 2007 to 2014, nearly 16.2 million people aged 65 and up drank alcohol in the previous month, with 3.4 million reporting binge drinking and 772,000 heavy reporting drinking. According to NSDUH data from 2007 to 2014, approximately 6.0 million older adults consumed alcohol on any given day. On the days they drank, older adults who had consumed alcohol in the previous month consumed an average of 1.8 drinks a day. According to the NSDUH, older adults who consumed alcohol in the last month did so on an average of 11.1 days a month. According to the NSDUH data from 2007 to 2014, almost 469,000 older adults used an illegal drug in the previous month.

Addiction in Youth

Drug experimentation is a standard part of adolescence, particularly among teenagers who hang out with peers who abuse drugs. Unfortunately, puberty is a hazardous time to experiment, as the developing brain appears to be more vulnerable to the effects of addictive drugs. As a result, teenagers who experiment with drugs develop addictions quickly and may lack the skills necessary to change their behaviours.

Providers also chose to involve family members in clinical treatment by age. Therapies that help parents consider their function in preventing violence and therapies that help teens learn abstinence skills may benefit young adolescents. When opposed to community counselling for adolescent addicts, researchers found that Family Structures Therapy like this was three times more effective treatment by age for treating teenage addicts in a study published in the Journal of Marital and Family Therapy.

Addiction in Adults

Personal therapies may be a beneficial treatment by age for this age group, even though family-based approaches can help young adults or even those in their mid-life. These patients would be able to learn more about:

  • Trauma from the past.
  • Mental illnesses aren’t readily apparent.
  • Patterns of destructive behaviour that begin in childhood.
  • Bad coping ability

Adults can also benefit from community therapies, in which they work with other addicts under the guidance of a counsellor. The community format helps adults spend time in the helper’s role while still accepting well-informed peers’ assistance. This is especially effective for adults and is a form of treatment by age.

Understanding Aging and Geriatric Issues

Although some adults look forward to their “Golden Years,” awaiting retirement, grandchildren, or simply a new chapter of their lives, others fear the physical and mental consequences of ageing. If physical disabilities impair their mobility, it may be challenging for some adults to make the transition to retirement, cope with new frailty or medical problems, or find fun, meaningful activities. Some adults may find it difficult to face mortality, particularly when friends, colleagues, spouses, and partners pass away.

They may become alienated as a result of many such deaths. In the presence of Alzheimer’s disease or other types of dementia, which affects one out of every ten Americans over the age of 65, older adults may find it difficult to attend to basic needs. Some older adults can be affected by ageism or prejudice based on a person’s age, resulting in forced retirement or well-intentioned loved ones ignoring an older adult’s wishes or opinions. this is why treatment by age is important.

According to a United Nations Population Survey, 37% of adults above 60 have experienced age discrimination in the previous year, and 43% are afraid of personal abuse. Just 49% of these adults said they were treated with dignity. As a result, just over half of the adults polled had encountered disrespectful incidents. Furthermore, more than half of adults above 60 said it was difficult to pay for essential services, 66 per cent said they wished they could work, and 47 per cent said they thought about money “always” or “very often.”

Addiction Late in Life

Senior citizens are often overlooked when it comes to drug treatment by age. However, they may develop unhealthy relationships with both legal and illegal drugs. Talking about these problems with older adults can be uncomfortable. According to a report published in The American Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry, older adults attend counselling sessions far more often than their younger peers. According to research like this, older adults want to resolve their addictions, but they may need a doctor’s boost to start. Those medical practitioners who prescribe treatment by age for their elderly patients may help them cope with ageing without dealing with a concurrent addiction.

Alcohol misuse is also on the rise among the elderly in the United States. Since the symptoms of alcoholism are so similar to those of other elderly illnesses, it is often ignored.

Here Are a Few Examples:

  • Voice slurred
  • Loss of enthusiasm for previously enjoyed hobbies
  • Health concerns that are persistent and unsupported
  • Depression or hostility
  • Confusion and memory loss

Contact Us

Please call us on our toll-free number 615-490-9376 if you’d like to learn more about how addiction treatment is personalized to meet particular age groups’ needs or if you have any concerns about the care your patients may need. We’re trained to assist as Foundations Recovery Network experts to give treatment by age.