Most experts believe anyone can become addicted to alcohol or other drugs. Some substances, like nicotine and heroin, are so highly addictive that using them excessively or on a daily basis can lead to addiction in anyone. However, most people who try substances do not progress to heavy use or addiction.
That said, any substance used during the teen and young adult years is a concern. The human brain continues to develop through the mid-20’s, making the adolescent and young adult years a critical time for establishing healthy behavior and habits. Substance use during these years creates the potential for a variety of long-term negative effects.
Drug and alcohol addiction typically starts off as recreational, whereby the individual drinks and/or uses in a social setting. The disease is progressive, which means that as time passes, he or she will exhibit a higher tolerance, frequently engage in the behavior and experience intense cravings and withdrawal symptoms.