Alcohol use can be a problem for people of any age. Although alcoholics are all abusing the same substance, people tend to experience their drinking problems in different ways at different ages. Many people suffer from the worst alcohol problems between the ages of 25 to 40.
Long-Term Alcohol Abuse
Adults with alcohol use problems are usually suffering from problems that started years before. Between the ages of 25 to 40 is not the most common time to develop a drinking problem. A 2006 study published in the journal Pediatrics used a survey conducted by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism to look at the age at which diagnosable alcohol dependence begins. Two-thirds of those who had ever been alcohol dependent had first become alcohol dependent before age 25. Only 21 percent had become alcohol dependent after age 30.
As alcohol’s importance diminishes in the lives of individuals’ peers, those who continue with alcohol use problems may feel a sense of isolation. Heavy drinking and alcoholism usually peak before the age of 25. Regular drinking is an activity that becomes less common as people move from 25 to 40. Everyone else may appear to be growing out of alcohol while some individuals still struggle with abuse.
Alcohol Addiction Recovery
When they seek recovery, long-term alcohol users between the ages of 25 to 40 are likely to face some challenges that are different from those of older or younger alcoholics.
First, they may have physical problems to address. The cumulative damage from alcohol often begins to produce physical problems, such as the following:
- High blood pressure
- Chronic diarrhea
- Frequent muscle cramps
- Impaired liver function
- Damaged pancreas
Because of a high tolerance built up over years of alcohol abuse, these symptoms can immediately feel much worse if alcohol intake is reduced even by a fraction. Medically managing withdrawal symptoms may be a key to recovery. Nonetheless, it can often be the physical pain of the alcohol problem that finally drives a person to get help.
Adult Alcohol Abuse Development
People who develop alcohol use problems during the ages of 25 to 40 may be a smaller group, but they should not be forgotten. In fact, a mistaken belief that they are too mature to develop an alcohol problem can prevent people from recognizing their problem and getting help.
Although usually characterized by more stability than young adulthood, life can still bring significant stressors to this age group that can test their abilities to cope and can push them toward alcohol. These stressors can include the following:
- Career setback
- Death of a parent
- Pressure of student loans
Alcohol can be a temporary comfort in times of crisis that quickly and quietly turns into a destructive habit. However, people who develop alcohol problems between age 25 and age 40 may carry some advantages into their recoveries. They are more likely to seek out help for themselves than people in other age groups. They also tend to suffer fewer setbacks in recovery. Being more mature before the addiction begins means they have a stronger and clearer sense of identity. This can help guide them back to a sober life.
Alcohol Addiction Treatment
If you or someone you know is struggling with alcohol use problems, please call our toll-free helpline to learn more about options for intervention. Counselors are available 24 hours a day. You are not alone; call now.