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Drug Rehab Options For Middle-Aged Adults

There are drug addiction treatment services that are perfect for people in their late 30s to early 50s. If drug addiction has been a lifelong struggle, it may be that middle age offers just the right amount of experience and education to empower you in recovery. You get the most out of the addiction treatment services that you truly show up for mentally and emotionally as well as physically. With the right motivation and dedication, middle age may be the perfect time for you to gain traction in sobriety for the first time. Putting the right things in place during drug rehab can help to smooth your transition into independent recovery.


While there are no drug addiction treatment programs designed specifically for people between the ages of 38 and 58, there are ways to personalize a drug rehab program so that it meets your needs, no matter what your age.

In fact, what you gain from addiction treatment has more to do with your circumstances rather than your age. For example, if you have small children and need support on positive parenting, then parenting groups and support will be helpful to your long-term recovery.

If you have a functioning career and are trying to figure out how to balance those stressors while staying sober, your focus might be more on building a day-to-day schedule in recovery that helps you manage your responsibilities and know when to say “no.”

If you are having a hard time holding down a job and staying off the streets due to a mental health disorder in addition to addiction, then your drug rehab should offer mental health care specific to your needs plus addiction treatment and job skills training. 


Not necessarily. You are unique because of how you grew up, where you find yourself today, your physical and mental health challenges, and the nature of your drug use. While you will not necessarily find a program that is billed for middle-aged adults, you will be able to find addiction treatment that is designed to help you meet the issues that are challenging your ability to stay sober.

For this reason, your experience in drug rehab will be different than anyone else’s experience, and that will be defined by the resources and treatment staff that are available to you. No matter what drug rehab you choose, make sure you have access to:

  • Medical care, if needed during drug detox
  • Medicated detox, if appropriate
  • Traditional personal and group therapy sessions
  • Educated and experienced staff members who work together to ensure that you have a cohesive addiction treatment plan

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When you genuinely show up for the treatments you are enrolled in and do the work asked of you by your treatment professionals, you greatly increase the likelihood that you will complete the program and transition smoothly into sobriety. Depending on the therapies you are taking part in and the therapists you work with, you may be able to show up by:

  • Doing the homework that is assigned to you by your therapist
  • Journaling on your own to work through things that come up for you during treatment
  • Raising your hand and sharing your thoughts during group sessions
  • Asking your therapist questions and learning more about the nature of the disorder you are living with
  • Reading books about addiction recovery and treatment
  • Following the regimen for treatment that your medical and psychiatric doctors give you
  • Being present and available to peers who are struggling with challenges in recovery, especially if you can relate and give them support
  • Making other positive choices that will promote your ability to stay present and focused on recovery, like eating well, getting some exercise during the day, and drinking lots of water to continue processing the drugs out of your body


In middle age, you may be optimally primed to get the most out of treatment. If you have been struggling with addiction for most of your life and been to drug rehab a few times before, you have a strong foundation in treatment principles and know exactly what you need to do to stay sober.

This time around, your focus can be on the application of those principles and learning how to make them work in your own life.

On the other hand, if you have only had a few years of problematic drug abuse in your history, and this is your first time in treatment, it may be that you have a lot to lose — your family, your career, your standing in the community — and that is incentive enough to help you stay on track and do the work necessary to find sobriety.

Middle aged

In either case, your ability to stay sober for the long term and avoid relapse has more to do with other things that define your life other than age.

For example, if you have any of the following issues, you may need to do a little bit more work to feel stable in recovery:

  • People at home who are actively drinking or using drugs or living with an addiction of their own
  • Difficulties sticking to a medication schedule for physical or mental health diagnoses
  • No home to return to after treatment
  • Legal problems complicating where you need to be, what you have to do, and when
  • Children or elderly family members who require around-the-clock care

The presence of these issues does not mean you will not be able to stay sober after treatment. They do indicate, however, the need to set yourself up for success during drug rehab and make sure you have everything you need in place to avoid relapse before you transition out of treatment.


Ultimately, the biggest thing to impact your ability to stay sober is your readiness to adapt and adjust as things change.

Even if you take the time to put strong systems in place before you leave drug rehab with the goal of diminishing your exposure to drugs and alcohol and living a healthy and supported life, things happen. Unexpected stressors, grief, anger, and frustrations can come from any source. As long as you are ready to adapt as needed and stay focused on recovery, you can weather any storm in sobriety.


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(October 2015) American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM) National Practice Guideline for the Use of Medications in the Treatment of Addiction Involving Opioid Use. Journal of Addiction Medicine. Retrieved April 2019 from

(April 2018) Recovery From Trauma, Addiction, or Both: Strategies for Finding Your Best Self. Journal of Social Work Practice in the Addictions. Retrieved April 2019 from

(October 2009) Client and service characteristics associated with addiction treatment completion of clients with co-occurring disorders. Addictive Behaviors. Retrieved April 2019 from

(2015) Therapeutic Community Treatment of an Inmate Population with Substance Use Disorders: Post-Release Trends in Re-Arrest, Re-Incarceration, and Drug Misuse Relapse. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health. Retrieved April 2019 from

(August 2015) Feasibility Randomized Controlled Trial of Cognitive and Behavioral Interventions for Depression Symptoms in Patients Accessing Drug and Alcohol Treatment. Journal of Substance Abuse Treatment. Retrieved April 2019 from

Substance Abuse Treatment and Family Therapy, Chapter 1 Substance Abuse Treatment and Family Therapy. National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine. Retrieved April 2019 from

(April 2017) Why Do Alcoholics and Addicts Relapse So Often? U.S. News & World Report. Retrieved April 2019 from




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