Addiction is a disease that can affect anyone of any age, and there is nobody who is either too young or too old to develop an addiction to addictive substances. For some, the journey starts at a young age with exposure to drugs or alcohol in their childhood. However, for others, the use of drugs or alcohol may not become common until later in life, well into a person’s professional career, or after children have grown and left the house. Regardless of age, recovery, and sobriety are always possible, and Hawaii Island Recovery is prepared to help you tackle how mental health disorders, exposures, experiences, and age affect the recovery journey.
How Does Age Affect Addiction Later in Life?
Just because an individual has gone through a good portion of their lives without the use of drugs or alcohol doesn’t mean they are immune to developing a new addiction. Rather, these later stages in life can actually inform an individual’s use of drugs or alcohol.
For some, working in a successful professional career can come with many stresses. Stressful workplace environments, coupled with financial freedoms, can make it easy to begin looking to alcohol as a quick way to “unwind” after a difficult work day, creating a dangerous precedent that can develop into addiction. Others may find that once children have left the house, there can be a feeling of something “missing.” Also called “empty nest syndrome,” many parents whose children have recently moved out of the house can find a newfound wealth of free time, boredom, and emotional challenges like depression or anxiety, all of which can be filled with the use of drugs or alcohol to combat these symptoms.
Lastly, prescription drugs can also become more prominent as an individual attempts to cope with developing aches and pains. Exposure to these drugs can be dangerous at any age, and ensuring each individual’s relationship with prescription drugs isn’t turning into addiction is paramount.
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Does Age Affect the Decision to Get Sober?
Even if an individual recognizes the need for change or an unhealthy increase in the use of drugs or alcohol, it can still be difficult to reach out for professional help for various reasons. First, many of those with addiction later in life may feel embarrassed about the situation, and feelings of guilt, shame, and more can be a difficult barrier to overcome in the first place.
It is also common for older individuals to be concerned about potential reactions from their partner, children, and other loved ones when disclosing their relationship with alcohol and other drugs. Working professionals may also feel as if they have to decide between their continued professional career and their sobriety, making it difficult to take time off of work to attend a dedicated detox and residential treatment program or feel as if they will be judged upon their return to their professional role.
Lastly, many older individuals may also believe that treatment and recovery simply aren’t worth the time given their age already and may resign themselves to a lack of change through the belief that it is somehow “too late” to start such a difficult journey. Yet, despite the unique ways that each of these factors, including age, affect the use of drugs and alcohol, treatment and recovery at Hawaii Island Recovery is always possible.
Identifying the Need for Change
Recognizing how each unique situation and age affects addiction is the first step toward genuine change. However, it can also be difficult to recognize when the use of addictive substances has become dangerous, and an individual would benefit from professional treatment programs. Some questions that can help an individual determine if age affects their relationship with drugs or alcohol include:
- Am I using drugs or alcohol to fill a perceived “lack?”
- Have my finances or budget been affected by purchasing more alcohol or drugs, or has personal spending on such substances increased?
- Has my professional life been impacted by the use of drugs or alcohol, either by compromised attendance, performance, or coworkers expressing concern?
- Do I feel like drugs or alcohol are necessary to address the stresses of the day ahead?
- Are drugs or alcohol used to address feelings of boredom over other personal hobbies or interests?
Identifying the need for change involves first addressing how addiction can manifest and how the unique stressors that come with age affect the use of such substances. However, just as there are unique stresses and challenges connected to age, age also affects the best strategies that those in recovery can use to achieve sobriety as well.
Finding Personalized Treatment at Hawaii Island Recovery
No two journeys with addiction and recovery will be the same, and personal needs, interests, hobbies, and age affect the strategies that may best resonate with an individual throughout the recovery process. Our Hawaii drug and alcohol treatment centers and the professionals at Hawaii Island Recovery are prepared to adjust any strategies to better connect with a person’s age and personal goals. Addiction is possible at any age, but so are recovery and sobriety. Age doesn’t prevent the development of addiction, but it can inform the best strategies to pursue a sober life ahead.
Nobody is immune to addiction because of their age, and understanding the role that age plays in the development of both addiction and effective coping strategies is paramount to creating a healthy and effective treatment and recovery plan. At Hawaii Island Recovery, we understand the effects that age has on each person’s relationships with drugs or alcohol, and we are prepared to help you create the most effective approach to sobriety that addresses your unique challenges, needs, and goals. Each program is fully customized for the individual and backed by proven therapeutic strategies and a community of peers of all ages. For more information about our Hawaii drug and alcohol treatment centers and how they can help, call (866) 390-5070.