Substance abuse and young adults (aged 18-25) represent an unfortunate pairing that is currently causing concern in the public health community. Two out of five in this age group self-report using illicit drugs, one in seven has a substance use disorder, and approximately 1% of all young adults abuses opioids. Nearly 5% of our country’s young adult population suffers from prescription drug addiction.
Unfortunately, addiction among young adults is severely undertreated. Only about 10.5% of the 5.1 million young adults who experience addiction receive substance abuse treatment. At Serenity Light Recovery, we offer treatment options for young adults. To learn more, reach out to us via our online form or over the phone at855.658.6109.
Young Adults and Drugs
What causes one young person to become addicted to drugs and not another? There is no single defining answer, but risk factors increase the odds that drug experimentation will lead to addiction.
- Genetics. The biology people are born with accounts for about 50% of the risk for addiction. A pre-existing mental health disorder greatly increases the risks as well.
- Environment. The environment includes numerous influences on a young person. Factors that play a critical part in the environment include family, friends, and socio-economic status. Other things that increase the likelihood of drug abuse and addiction include peer pressure, bullying, physical or sexual abuse, early exposure to drug use, stress, and parental guidance and example.
- Timing. Developmental stages in a young person’s life intersect with genetics and environment to complete the picture of addiction risk.
Experimenting with drugs at any age can lead to addiction, but the earlier drug use occurs, the greater the risks. The brain does not finish developing fully until age 25. Young brains, including teens and young adults, are not capable of making decisions, using sound judgment, and exerting self-control as they will be when they are older.
Prescription Drug Addiction in Young People
Young people from 18 to 25 are the largest group abusing prescription painkillers, ADHD stimulants, and anti-anxiety drugs. An estimated 12% of people in that age group engage in non-medical use of prescription drugs. Whether it’s to get high, because they think they’ll learn faster, or to escape from the ever-increasing stress of daily life, they are engaging in highly dangerous, potentially deadly, behavior.
It is all too easy for young adults with a painkiller addiction or dependence on other prescription medications to get their hands on what they crave.
Sources for prescriptions that feed addictions include:
- Family. Many young people mistakenly believe that prescription drugs are “safe” and will simply go into the family medicine cabinet. For example, grandparents with chronic pain and medical conditions are less likely to monitor their pill inventory and are vulnerable to theft by someone close to them.
- Friends. Teammates often share prescription painkillers, and college students will trade stimulants like Adderall at academic crunch times.
- Doctor shopping. A young adult who had a legitimately prescribed pain killer but became addicted may seek new doctors and pharmacies to acquire the drug past the time of its therapeutic use.
- Online. Illegitimate overseas pharmacies often sell medication without a prescription. Tech-savvy young people are likely able to access this source with ease.
Serenity Light Recovery Helps Young Adults
Young people have more commitments and responsibilities than ever before. Whether they are attending college or starting their careers, they have pressures that exacerbate their risk of addiction and make rehab treatment a challenge. Many people in the 18 to 25 age group experience even greater anxiety when considering how to make time for rehab while also facing their daily challenges while sober. It can be daunting.
At Serenity Light Recovery, we understand that time away from a degree program, or budding career can be difficult. We offer both inpatient and outpatient options. We work with young people in our outpatient treatment programs so they can stay in school or continue to work, at least on a part-time basis, while receiving treatment.
If an inpatient treatment option will work for a young adult, that is an excellent option and allows uninterrupted focus on the beginning of the recovery process. All treatment plans, however, should begin with an inpatient, medically monitored detox to ensure safety and success in that first, critical step.
Reach out today to learn more about how we can support young adults who are ready to step away from substance use and seek a healthy, rewarding path toward sobriety. Call 855.658.6109 or fill out our easy online form.