Researchers from the National Institute on Drug Abuse analyzed data that was collected by the National Survey on Drug Use and Health between the years 2015 and 2018. They found that “10.7% of teenagers between the age of 12 and 17 developed cannabis use disorders, versus 6.4% of young adults between the age of 18 and 25.”
The study also found that adolescents were more likely than young adults to develop an addiction to prescription opioids, stimulants and central nervous system depressants. “11.2% of teens were addicted to prescribed opioids, versus 6.9% young adults; 13.9% of teens were addicted to prescribed stimulants, versus 3.9% of young adults; 11.2% of teens were addicted to prescribed tranquilizers, versus 4.7% of young adults.”
The implications of these findings stress further the importance of steering teenagers away from habit-forming substances, even if prescribed by a doctor. The teenage brain’s ability to become addicted seems to be, according to the study, more susceptible to addiction than the brains of young adults. Unfortunately these addictions often follow teenagers into their young adulthoods, and if not arrested, well into their adulthoods.
Whether you or your loved one got started abusing drugs and alcohol as a teenager, or as a young adult, seeking treatment as soon as possible is critical. The sooner an individual can find freedom from their addiction, the sooner they can begin really living again. And the quicker the brain can re-wire its addicted neural pathways. The Guardian IOP program could be a good option for young adults over the age of 18 to seek treatment in a way that is not as disruptive to their life as a traditional inpatient treatment program. Intensive outpatient programs allow for some flexibility for young adults to continue working or going to school while also attending groups several days a week.