Often, when we imagine someone addicted to drugs or alcohol, we picture a person in their 20s, 30s, 40s, or 50s. Rarely would we imagine a young teen or an older person as an addict.
However, it’s entirely possible for people at either end of the age spectrum to suffer from an addiction. What treatment options are available for these people? Is it possible to be too old or too young to check into a residential treatment center?
What Age Do You Have to Be to Go to Residential Treatment?
Addiction is a disease, and, unfortunately, it doesn’t discriminate. This means that anyone can develop an addiction to drugs or alcohol, no matter how old they are. Children and teenagers can become addicts, as can older adults in their sixties and up.
Since anyone can suffer from addiction, there are treatment programs available for people of all ages. There is no specific age limit for people seeking treatment for addiction, whether that’s inpatient or outpatient.
You might find programs or entire treatment centers that specialize in helping elderly people or teenagers deal with their addictions.
It may be difficult to convince a teenager to go to treatment for an addiction as they are still developing the self-awareness and foresight to realize how badly their addiction is affecting them and everyone around them. For this reason, it’s completely legal to check someone 17 years of age or younger into treatment without their consent. It may sound like a harsh decision, but parents may have no other choice when their teen’s life is at risk. Of course, no matter the age of the addicted person, chances of recovery are much higher when they aren’t forced into treatment.
Should A Young Person Be in Residential Treatment?
Usually, the type of treatment an addicted person should receive depends heavily on the severity of the addiction, with residential treatment being one of the more intense options available.
It can be argued that an addiction in an underage person is severe no matter what. A teenager’s brain is not yet fully developed, and the abuse of substances like drugs or alcohol can cause permanent damage and delays that affect them in ways different from a fully-grown adult.
Ultimately, the decision on which type of treatment to receive should be left up to the addicted person and their family. However, residential treatment is often highly effective in helping residents achieve lifelong recovery from their addiction.