According to results from the 2013 National Survey on Drug Use and Health, 4.8 percent of young adults aged 18 to 25 admitted to using non-prescribed psychotherapeutic drugs in the last month. 1.1 percent admitted to cocaine usage in the last month, and 1.8 percent admitted to using hallucinogens. Heroin and inhalants were both consumed by 0.3 percent in the last month. Although admitted drug use has gone down in recent years, it’s still a very prevalent issue haunting society’s young people. Understanding what causes young people to become addicts is the first step toward treating the issue.
Introduced to Drugs by Family
A lot of young adults become addicted to drugs because their parents use. The University of Utah’s Genes and Addiction website reports: “It may be harder for people with certain genes to quit once they start. Or they may experience more severe withdrawal symptoms if they try to quit.” This isn’t to say that every child of an addict will become an addict themselves, but that genetic factors may contribute to the drugs taking a stronger hold on the child. “Someone’s genetic makeup will never doom them to inevitably become an addict. Remember, environment makes up a large part of addiction risk.”
Introduced to Drugs by Peer Pressure and Environment
Fitting in is important to young people; if you’re an adult and you’re reading this, ask yourself if you ever did something you knew wasn’t exactly right, but that seemed like fun. This is the reality of a young person’s environment, and when you factor in peer pressure it becomes even harder to say no.
From the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence, Inc.: “New research shows that, when making a decision, teens think about both the risks and rewards of their actions and behaviors – but, unlike adults, teens are more likely to ignore the risk in favor of the reward…So, be aware: The desire to impress your friends may override your fear of taking risks.”
Addiction can ruin the life of a young person, especially one who is attending college or starting a new career. If you sense your child or a friend is succumbing to peer pressure, gently remind her that she can rise above the situation. She is not owned by who she knows, and it is possible to change an environment. Then, encourage her to seek help.
Addiction Help for Young Adults
Hotel California, an addiction recovery center, warns that “young adults require a different approach than addiction treatment for older adults, as many view addiction treatment as a form of punishment, rather than a beneficial life choice.” Substance abuse treatment for young adults include programs that instill a sense of recovery to a better life, in a way that makes sense to the young person.
Seek out treatment options that are tailored to the young person’s age. They should be among their peers in addiction counselling sessions, and among their peers in addiction treatment centers. What the addict learns in treatment should provide her with the tools she needs to succeed outside of the treatment environment.
As an adult, it’s much harder to battle an addiction that began at a young age. Fortunately, there is help available to those who wish to receive it. Ask an addiction specialist to help you intervene, and then provide treatment solutions to the young adult. This should help her break free from her substance abuse.