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How Drug Addiction Treatment Differs through Age Generations

Addiction is a disease that everyone is vulnerable to at some point in their lives. People can potentially become addicts at any age. Since most agencies that treat drug addiction recognize this there are different methods of treating drug addiction and dependence throughout the lifespan.

Treating a Child

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, treatment for children begins with prevention and education. Early education can prevent drug use and stop the factors that lead up to it later in life. This education should address issues the start in childhood and continue into adolescents. A few of these issues are:

  • insecure attachment to parents and caregivers
  • social isolation at an early age
  • witnessing or experiencing abuse
  • poor nutrition
  • divorce or other disruption in their lives
  • poor cognitive skills
  • lack of socialization
  • unready for school challenges
  • uncontrolled aggression

All of these issues are precursors to drug use. A child that has more than one risk factor, has an increased risk of drug use later in life. Prevention and education are the keys to treating the possibility of childhood drug addiction.

Treating an Adolescent who is Addicted to Drugs

Age Generations

Adolescents facing addiction benefit greatly from individualized counseling and cognitive behavioral therapy.

When treating adolescents exposed to drugs prevention is still the best measure but by early adolescents some drug addiction is beyond prevention. At this point you have drug addiction showing up. Fortunately, usually the drug addiction is not very severe. According to the principles of adolescent drug treatment, several treatments are effective at this stage. These treatments are:

  • cognitive behavioral therapies
  • legal interventions and family sanctions
  • group counseling
  • individual counseling with a qualified adolescent psychologist
  • dialectized therapies
  • family and community support
  • inpatient treatment
  • outpatient therapy

In extreme cases, long term inpatient treatment may be necessary to both get the adolescent out of the situation where they will use drugs and to restructure the behaviors that caused the drug use.

Treating an Adult who is an Addict

Treating an adult addict is relatively straight forward. Most of the addiction treatments devised are targeted at adults who are addicted to drugs or alcohol. This includes:

  • 12 step programs
  • inpatient treatment
  • outpatient treatment
  • alternative therapy
  • holistic treatments
  • community supported therapy
  • individual and group counseling
  • long term inpatient therapy

Many of these treatments focus on finding the cause of the addiction and treating it while treating the physical and mental symptoms of addiction.

Adults and Addiction: Your Child Isn’t the Only One

Treating an Elderly Person who is an Addict

Geriatric drug abuse often mimics other disorders and is harder to detect than drug abuse in adults and adolescents. It shows up as:

  • dementia
  • diabetes
  • depression
  • anxiety
  • other behavioral disorders

The treatment for an elderly addict is slightly different than that of an adolescent or adult. Since the addiction is usually a long term addiction, doctors need to take a more intensive approach while watching for adverse reactions.

Complications of withdrawal are also more likely in a geriatric patient so a more medical approach is preferable to a behavioral one. The withdrawal has to be strictly controlled and only then can the addiction be addressed.

There are other barriers to treating a geriatric drug or alcohol addict. Most of these barriers have to do with the patient’s age. Many elderly patients do not have any desire to stop their drug use because it has less of an impact on their lifespan. The long term effects are already being experienced or exceed their lifespan. In these cases, intensive therapy and community support is needed.

How to Find Treatment in Any Life Stage

To find treatment for drug addiction in any of the life stages call 800-721-8114. We can help you understand your treatment options as well as how and where to seek treatment.

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