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Is the disease addiction progress more rapid in adolescents than it is in adults?what...

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lawonia | Student, Undergraduate | eNotes Newbie

Posted July 6, 2009 at 1:42 AM via web

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Is the disease addiction progress more rapid in adolescents than it is in adults?

what causes adult addiction

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isabella-martin | Student, Undergraduate | (Level 1) Adjunct Educator

Posted July 7, 2009 at 4:02 PM (Answer #1)

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There really isn't any definitive data to answer your question, however it is widely held by mental health experts that addictive behaviors learned during adolescence are much harder to stop during adulthood. This idea is similar to the old adage "you can't teach an old dog new tricks." The longer a behavior has been in place, the harder it is to change the behavior. What's more, adolescece is a time of major neurological maturation and emotional growth. A lot of our lifelong personality traits come into sharper focus. Behaviors we adopt when we are adults are much more easily changed than those we adopted during this imprinting adolescent period. The actual rate of the progress of the addiction is not really something that can be accurately quantified. How would one differentiate between a small addiction and a large one? An extreme one and a slight one? These are all very subjctive ideas.

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mapriem | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Adjunct Educator

Posted July 16, 2009 at 2:38 AM (Answer #2)

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There is a lot of research, especially in studying alcoholism that indicated that the bodies of adolescents are at higher risk in becoming addicted due to the following factors.  The brain and body are still developing and patterns within new tissue can become more sensitive to outside substances. Neurotransmitters show an increase of permanent change which is part of the addiction process. Smaller body mass can also be more affected with the same quantity of alcohol or substances as organs have to work harder to rid the body of these substances. Decision making and lifestyle in adolescents tend to be less responsible and carefree which also puts them at greater risk for addiction. These factors are prevalent as well as genetic predisposition which affects many families.

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