There are no specific age limits for people seeking treatment for drug or alcohol addiction, but individual rehab centers may not provide treatment for all age groups.
Some treatment facilities do accept people of all ages, while others may only accept adults over 18 or 21 years of age.
On the other hand, some rehab programs are designed specifically for adolescents under the age of 18, with treatment approaches that take into account clients’ still-developing brains.
Benefits Of Age-Specific Rehab Programs
Age-specific rehab centers provide many benefits for their clients.
People in different age groups may not be able to relate to each other in group therapy sessions, and being around people with similar life experiences can encourage support networks to grow.
Older clients may have more physical-health-related ailments as well, and age-specific addiction treatment centers can account for these differences.
Does Age Affect Addiction?
People who deal with severe addiction throughout adulthood often began using substances when they were teenagers. However, every age group is affected by drug and alcohol abuse.
Substance use disorder (SUD) can affect each age group in different ways, whether it be mental, physical, or emotional.
The age of a person seeking treatment may also affect their recovery outcomes, but people should never let their age stop them from finding professional help.
Adolescents And Addiction
Teenagers and adolescents are at a high risk of trying drugs and alcohol. One study found that more than 25% of teens have tried an illicit drug at least once.
Drug addiction that starts at an early age is often more challenging to treat, especially because our brain is not fully developed until age 25, making young people more susceptible to the effects of substances.
Nicotine, alcohol, and marijuana are the most commonly abused substances among this age group.
Young Adults And Substance Use
Young adults between the ages of 18 and 25, particularly college students, are susceptible to binge drinking and amphetamine abuse.
Around 10% of this age group faces alcohol abuse. This is also a time in life when mental health disorders like depression or social anxiety disorder often become apparent.
Handling the new challenges that come with adulthood can be a serious source of stress for young adults, and they may turn to the use of prescription drugs like Adderall to cope.
Adults And SUD
The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) found that nearly one in three American adults experience some form of substance abuse.
The older an adult is when they start using substances, the more likely they are to try illicit drugs like heroin. People who start at a younger age typically use alcohol or marijuana.
This age group will begin experiencing more severe withdrawal symptoms and physical health effects from sustained substance abuse.
Older Adults And Addiction
While adolescents or young adults are more likely to use substances at parties or for other recreational purposes, older adults more often use them to cope with mental and physical pain.
Older adults are more susceptible to the negative effects of drugs and alcohol and are at a higher risk of developing physical health problems from substance use.
However, SUD rates do drop in this age group. The most commonly abused substances are alcohol and prescription painkillers.
Find Help For An SUD Today
If you or a loved one is experiencing substance abuse, don’t wait to find care. To learn about starting the sobriety journey, contact AddictionResource.net today.
Published on September 22, 2023
Addiction Resource aims to provide only the most current, accurate information in regards to addiction and addiction treatment, which means we only reference the most credible sources available.
These include peer-reviewed journals, government entities and academic institutions, and leaders in addiction healthcare and advocacy. Learn more about how we safeguard our content by viewing our editorial policy.
- National Library of Medicine – Age-related aspects of addiction
- National Library of Medicine – Age trends in rates of substance use disorders across ages 18–90: Differences by gender and race/ethnicity