While stigmas about addiction may bring preconceived notions to one’s mind, the truth is that anyone can struggle with the disease at any age. Negative influences in one’s youth, the stresses of academic life, and even the professional and personal stresses of those well into adulthood can all cause a dangerous relationship with drugs and alcohol.
The stresses one faces will vary throughout life, but it is still important to be vigilant of one’s relationship with addictive substances. Nobody is immune to addiction or too old to develop a substance use disorder (SUD), and managing one’s stresses and influences is crucial for maintaining a healthy lifestyle.
Addiction in Adolescents
Addiction can be prevalent from early in one’s life. Academic stresses and difficult home life can both contribute to early experimentation with addictive substances. Living with parents who regularly use alcohol can normalize drinking in one’s mind, giving the impression that these substances aren’t as dangerous as they actually are.
However, some of the most dangerous influences for adolescents come from peers. Peers already engaging with these substances are a powerful force, especially when coupled with the social implications of peer pressure. Engaging with addictive substances in these formative years is exceptionally dangerous, directly impacting one’s physical and mental health while the brain and body are still developing.
This time can also see the manifestation of mental health disorders, introducing anxiety, depression, and much more into one’s life. Experiencing these emotions concurrently with the normalization of the use of addictive substances by family, peers, or media can influence an individual to begin engaging with drugs or alcohol in dangerous ways, sometimes leading to instances of dual diagnosis.
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The Trials of Early Adulthood
During one’s early 20s, new stresses can quickly manifest. For many, this is where one may begin to concern themselves with their future professional life, maintain regular employment, and experience a plethora of new freedoms. However, this can also be dangerous if an individual isn’t prepared to cope with the inherent stresses involved with these freedoms and responsibilities.
Academic and Professional Stress
For those continuing to pursue academic success, college can present a new atmosphere, with drugs and alcohol easily accessible and normalized through the prevalence of party lifestyles that may pervade campus. These cultures not only may promote the use of addictive substances but may even champion their use without regard for their effects on the body or mind. Peer pressures can still be extraordinarily powerful while someone is balancing their academic career.
Professional workplace stresses can also be difficult due to excessive responsibilities, coworkers, or atmosphere influencing one’s use and attitude regarding addictive substances. The workplace can not only introduce new stress and anxieties, but coworkers regularly going to the bar after work or even normalizing using addictive substances on the job can impact one’s perception of these substances. Learning to set effective barriers early in one’s professional career can be essential in mitigating the impact of these stresses.
The Burden of Freedom
Newfound freedoms can make it more difficult to manage one’s use. Not only will one be of age to legally purchase alcohol, but moving to live in one’s own space can also make it easier to obtain drugs without worrying about hiding them from parents or guardians. Self-moderation strategies may not be in place, and substance use can quickly develop into addiction if unaddressed or monitored.
Mental health disorders can still manifest during this stage in life even if an individual went through their adolescent years without them.
Adulthood and Addiction
As one moves into their 30s and even into senior status, addictive substances can still be dangerous, and it is possible to develop an addiction at these ages. For some, medical complications can expose an individual to opioids or addictive painkillers that can be extraordinarily addictive, and professional stresses can be ever-present.
Retirement also presents a unique hurdle. For many, retirement creates an influx of free time, and it is normal to fill this time with new activities. The use of drugs or alcohol may feel like a new freedom to fill this time. However, one may find themselves drinking at all hours of the day or may begin drinking or using drugs instead of continuing to search for new hobbies.
Parents also face a unique situation called “empty nest syndrome,” when one’s children have moved out and one is left with a quieter household. The time caring for their children on a daily basis may be at an end, and the resulting boredom and feeling of loneliness or isolation can promote the dangerous use of addictive substances.
Recovery from substance use disorder is possible with holistic treatment and support. To learn more, call Hawaii Island Recovery today at (866) 390-5070.More info
There Is Always Time for Help
Just as addiction can happen at any age, so too can recovery and sobriety. Though getting help early can make the recovery process easier, there is no point that is too late to pursue a sober future.
Coping with addiction in adolescents and early adults can be wrought with new stresses, while overcoming addiction in adults may require its own path based on one’s unique circumstances and professional life. However, recovery is always possible. Recovery is the investment in one’s future, and it is never too late to create the best, healthiest future possible in sobriety.
Addiction is a devastating disease that can affect anybody, and it can be difficult to realize how your unique stresses have impacted your attitudes regarding the use of addictive substances. If you or a loved one is struggling with an addiction, Hawaii Island Recovery can help you today. We offer an extensive array of programs designed to help you, regardless of your unique needs. Our open and caring community surrounds each individual with supportive peers and professionals with the necessary resources and spiritual belonging necessary for a transformative recovery. Whether you have struggled with exposure to addictive substances from a young age or are coping with the stresses of professional life and responsibilities, our dedicated treatment programs in Hawaii can create a program catered to your needs. For more information on how we can personalize your stay with us, call to speak to us today at (866) 390-5070.