Substance Use and Abuse Across the Life Span
Meredith C. Reesman & John D. Hogan
Substance abuse is a diverse and widespread societal problem. Experimentation often begins as early as the sixth grade (Simons-Morton, Haynie, Crump, Eitel, & Saylor, 2001) and can extend even into old age (Patterson & Jeste, 1999). Given the extensive time period during which substance abuse can develop, it is important that this disorder be understood in the appropriate developmental context. Although the pattern may change throughout the course of a lifetime, it is clear that substance abuse can lead to disastrous consequences at any age. The chief social, biological, and developmental factors that can affect the substance use disorders are presented below, along with a description of these disorders, as defined by the American Psychiatric Association. Each of these factors is presented as part of the developmental period to which it is most pertinent; however, some factors (e.g., comorbidity, heredity) may not be exclusive to a particular period. The Diagnostic ...