You may feel overwhelmed and at a loss when you come to the realization that the young adult or adolescent in your family needs help for substance abuse. If you live in the Port Saint Lucie area in Florida, there is a rehab center for young adults (aged 18-25) that understands the need for individualized addiction treatment programs and is experienced and successful at providing drug and alcohol rehab for this age group. To overcome addiction, young adults need to seek help at a professional addiction treatment center. But first, consider some issues before you talk to your loved one about the problem.
Table of Contents
- 1 Identifying Addiction In Young Adults
- 2 Young Adult Addiction
- 3 Common Reasons For Young Adult Substance Use
- 4 Substance Abuse And Mental Health
- 5 Why Is Drug Use Especially Dangerous For Young People?
- 6 Start A Conversation
- 7 Rehab For Young Adults At Miracles Recovery Center
Identifying Addiction In Young Adults
What makes you think your young adult has a substance abuse disorder (SUD)? Have you noticed these changes in mood, behavior, health, and appearance?
Personality Or Mood Changes
- Depressed, sullen, or withdrawn
- Secretive or deceitful
- Loss of self-restraint
- Lack of focus
- Being absent or losing interest in school or work
- Changes in relationships with family and friends
- Avoids making eye contact
- Goes missing for long periods
- Goes out frequently, breaking curfew
- Often makes excuses
- Secretive with phone
- Uses gum or mints to mask breath
- Uncoordinated and clumsy
- Sleepless or high energy periods followed by long periods of trying to catch up on sleep
Appearance And Hygiene Changes
- Clothing or breath has an unusual odor
- Lack of cleanliness
- Looks disheveled or sloppy
- Burns or soot on lips or fingers
- Needle marks on arms or legs or long sleeves in hot weather
- Frequently has red or flushed cheeks
- Sick a lot
- Slurred speech, rapid speech, or unable to speak
- Uncharacteristically tired
- Frequent nosebleeds or runny nose
- Spots or sores around the mouth
- Sweating frequently
- Seizures and vomiting
- Extreme and sudden weight gain or loss
Young Adult Addiction
The 2018 National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH) reported that:
- 8% of Americans 12 years old and older used an illicit substance in the past 30 days. But, for young adults aged 18 to 25, about 24% used illicit drugs in the past 30 days.
- These young adults also have some of the highest rates of substance and alcohol misuse. An estimated 35% of young adults were binge drinkers (drank 5 or more drinks on a single occasion) in the past month. That’s compared to 4.7% of 12 to 17-year-olds and 25% of adults 26 and older.
- Furthermore, about one-fifth of young adults smoked cigarettes in the past month. But more concerning is the rise in e-cigarette use. In 2014 about 13.6% of young adults used them. By 2016, it had grown to 23.5%. Recent statistics on a popular brand of e-cigarette predict that by the time youth reach young adulthood, they may already be addicted to nicotine.
Which Drugs Are Most Commonly Used By Young People?
The drug most commonly misused by young adults is marijuana, followed by alcohol and tobacco. Recently, more young people have started vaping marijuana and tobacco.
Although often called youthful “experimentation” that won’t last, substance use among young adults can have disastrous consequences on a person’s health and social support network. This pattern of misuse in young adulthood can lead to more problems with use and progress to substance use disorders (SUDs). Sadly, this age group is also more likely than other age groups to believe that substance use isn’t harmful.
Common Reasons For Young Adult Substance Use
Young adults are at an increased risk for substance abuse. People in this age range are typically focused on themselves and engaged in probing and finding their identities. Having this increased independence and new possibilities and choices along with changes in residence, employment, education, and relationships.
Many types of challenging behaviors are common for young adults and adolescents. However, using drugs and alcohol isn’t one of them. But some common experiences can become a reason or excuse for drug abuse and alcohol addiction. They include:
To fit in
Wanting to be included and liked by others is pretty important during that period of life. If their peers are using substances, they may feel that they need to participate to fit in.
To feel good
Drugs of abuse can cause feelings of pleasure.
To perform better in sports or academics
Some people used stimulants for studying or anabolic steroids to improve athletic performance.
Many young adults and adolescents use drugs and alcohol to overcome insecurities and feel more confident socially. This may make them feel like substance use is necessary to achieve social interaction.
Periods of change in a person’s life, such as moving, divorce, illness, or death in the family, can lead some young people to find comfort in drugs or alcohol.
Psychological and emotional pain
Low self-esteem, loneliness, depression, and anxiety disorder, among other mental health disorders, are commonly linked with substance abuse in young adults.
Substance Abuse And Mental Health
Young adults with serious mental health problems have higher rates of substance use than those without. In addition, when compared to other developmental periods, the co-occurrence of SUDs and serious mental health conditions are concentrated in young adults. In particular, 2.6% of young adults have a co-occurring serious mental illness (SMI) and SUD compared to 1.7% of adults aged 26 to 49 years and 0.5% of adults aged 50 years and older.
Factors that differentiate adolescents who developed one mental health diagnosis from those who developed co-occurring mental health and substance use disorders include:
- Higher levels of perceived support from family members
- Higher-income levels
- Better parental marital adjustment
Consequences Of Co-Occurring SMI And SUD
The biggest worry is the consequences of substance use among young adults with mental health issues. These individuals already have to deal with significant challenges maneuvering through the issues of developing into adulthood. The consequences include greater risk for:
- Dropping out of school
- Legal problems
Dual Diagnosis Treatment
When an individual is diagnosed with a SUD and a mental health disorder at the same time it is called a dual diagnosis. Interaction between the two co-occurring disorders makes rehab more complicated and a higher risk of negative health effects if not treated correctly. Innovative recovery centers have recovery programs that can treat both conditions simultaneously.
For the best possible chance of full recovery, a treatment plan should include:
- Specialists in mental health treatment and substance abuse who work together as a team to make sure all needs of both conditions are met
- Psychotherapy (talk therapy) has an important role in both conditions, but prescription medication may also be needed and should be available
- Therapy that allows the individual to make choices in their treatment is the most dependable and widely used approach
- During the treatment process, members of the household, including spouses, children, parents, or any other members should all be involved, whether they receive treatment or participate in family meetings.
Why Is Drug Use Especially Dangerous For Young People?
The brains of young people continue to grow and develop until they are in their mid-20s. This is especially the case of the prefrontal cortex, the part that is used to make decisions. Taking drugs when young interferes with the developmental processes that occur in the brain.
By interfering with their decision-making, it makes them more likely for risky behaviors like unsafe sex and dangerous driving under the influence. The earlier people start using drugs, the greater the risk of continuing to use them and becoming addicted later in their life. Likewise, using drugs and alcohol when young can add to the development of other adult medical issues such as:
- Heart disease
- High blood pressure
- Sleep disorders
Young adults who abuse substances or develop a SUD often struggle to achieve traditional adult roles and responsibilities such as getting and keeping a job and maintaining healthy relationships. Excessive drinking among young adults is also linked with:
- Increased physical and sexual assaults
- Insults and humiliation
- Preventing others from sleeping or studying
A major concern is the effects of substances on the developing brain and the links to chronic diseases and injury and death from vehicle accidents.
Start A Conversation
If you have just discovered that your loved one has a drug addiction, you may feel overwhelmed and not know what to do next. This is the time to stay calm and prepare yourself for a conversation.
It is likely to be uncomfortable and they may react with anger. If you prepare well beforehand, you are more likely to have an effective outcome.
- Set aside time for the conversation and stay calm and relaxed. Don’t allow any distractions while you’re talking
- Don’t yell or accuse or reprimand
- Use incentives, leverage, and consequences of not going to rehab
- Have a professional intervention
Rehab For Young Adults At Miracles Recovery Center
Miracles Recovery Center understands that the typical drug rehab program for adults is not suitable for young adults. We can tailor a program specifically for you or your loved one. Miracles can also provide a Dual Diagnosis program, a common issue for young adults. Don’t risk your future when you can get help today. Contact us today.