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Challenges Facing Young Adults In Recovery

Challenges Facing Young Adults In Recovery

Prescription drug abuse among young adults is of particular concern to health care workers

Although illicit use of drugs such as nicotine, heroin and cocaine are holding steady at low levels among American adolescents, according to national surveys, other trends reveal dangerous teen attitudes and use patterns. For instance, an increasing number of teens and young adults believe that smoking pot is relatively harmless. This demographic also report that they perceive abuse of prescription painkillers such as Vicodin to be minimally risky. Since changing attitudes toward substance abuse often precede changes in reported use, according to research, use of both drugs among young users is likely to rise in coming years.

Prescription drug abuse among teens and adults in their early twenties is of particular concern to health care workers. Among the 2.4 million Americans who reported nonmedical use of prescription medication in 2010, 19.6 percent were between the ages of 18-25, making this population’s rate of abuse highest among all age groups. One subset within this age bracket stands out for having an even higher risk: college students. Surveys show that by their sophomore year, half of all coeds have been offered prescription drugs for illicit use.

Young Adults and Addiction: Challenges They Face

Although every person is different, one’s life stage and development issues significantly impact addiction risk. Specific factors that raise vulnerability to drug abuse for teenagers and young adults include the following:

  • Immaturity
  • Limited life experience
  • Heightened perception of stress
  • Inadequate coping skills
  • High affirmation needs
  • Lack of spiritual grounding

Peer pressure also exerts a greater force at this developmental point—a fact that works against teens and young adults trying to get sober. At this age when friends are of paramount importance, many people fear being ridiculed marginalized or rejected if they abstain. In light of these susceptibilities, therapists working with this demographic give particular focus to the following treatment goals:

  • Strengthening coping skills
  • Building self-esteem
  • Learning stress-management strategies
  • Building recovery-friendly peer groups

Another frequent treatment aim for young adults is addressing emotional issues and screening for co-occurring conditions such as anxiety and depression that may underlie addictive tendencies.

Help for Addiction

Recovering from addiction is difficult, but you don’t have to do it alone. We are here to help. Admissions coordinators are available at our toll-free, 24 hour helpline to guide you and your family to wellness. Please call today and take the first step.