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The impact of addiction is intense for any individual regardless of age. As psychology professionals have become more focused upon the growing elder adult population, it has become evident that even seniors are not exempt from the challenges of addictive behavior.
Differentiate addiction across the lifespan for adolescent, early adult, middle adult, and elder adult populations, and distinguish specific treatment techniques most appropriate for specific lifespan perspectives. Your Discussion should include consideration of the specific population characteristics of each age group, normal developmental issues and concerns, and age-appropriate experiences that may directly contribute to addiction behavior.
Determine and illustrate age-appropriate approaches to addictions counseling and treatment for each age group. Compare and contrast the treatment similarities and differences for each group.
Developmental factors to consider when designing a treatment plan for addiction (These factors can be age-specific):
• Type of addiction could be different for different age groups (gambling, alcohol, drugs, gaming/technology, abusing prescribed drugs)
• Duration...how long has this been going on for?
• Pattern of use....as a social activity to fit in with friends, abuse in private, how frequently etc.
• Relapse...how many relapses has this person had before? This could affect motivation/belief in ability to succeed at a treatment programme.
• Why is it a problem? (underage, legal issues such as drink-driving, creating a social problem, exacerbating an existing health problem, family life affected, studies affected, independent living skills affected, social life affected, work life affected)
• Reason for the addiction....Peer pressure, testing boundaries, grief, lack of social support, lack of basic needs, existing mental health problem, decline in cognitive functioning, not doing ...
This paper highlights some of the factors to consider when planning a developmentally-appropriate treatment programme for older adults with addiction.