Age at onset in the context of addiction refers to the age at which an individual first begins to use a substance or engage in behavior that leads to addictive behavior. This is a critical factor in the development of addiction, as early onset of substance use or addictive behavior is associated with a higher risk of developing a substance use disorder (SUD).
Research has shown that the earlier an individual begins using substances, the greater the risk of developing a substance use disorder, with onset before age 18 being associated with the highest risk.
The age at onset can also influence the severity and progression of addiction and the likelihood of recovery. Understanding the age at onset can be crucial in developing effective prevention and intervention strategies.