Addiction recovery is a daunting experience for anyone, but young adults face certain unique challenges that can make it even more difficult. On both a physical and psychological level, teens and college students face an uphill battle when they try to confront the disease of addiction. With the proper help, though, young adults can experience deep and sustained healing before drugs and alcohol cause permanent and irreparable harm to their bodies, minds and spirits.
Young people, by their very nature, are not usually concerned about their mortality, their long-term health, or the repercussions their choices may have down the road. Many young adults are caught in the uniquely precarious place between the constant authority and protection of home and the need to fully support themselves out in the world. College students are especially prone to take full advantage of their new freedom before realizing that they may, in fact, be surrendering to a different kind of bondage in the form of addiction.
When a young person enters a recovery program, these feelings of immortality and recklessness can complicate the important work they must accomplish. Young adults often struggle with the following aspects of treatment:
For these reasons, young adults may not take recovery as seriously and may need extra support to stay sober.
Young adults tend to be far more susceptible to the effects of peer pressure and image cultivation than adults. If a teen or twenty-something addict feels that his peers are all getting drunk or high and that it is an acceptable part of his community, he is unlikely to embrace the need to get clean. Most young addicts have cut ties with their non-using friends and family and only have relationships with fellow users. This creates a sort of myopic effect that blinds these young people and robs them of proper perspective. For them, substance abuse is a perfectly acceptable part of life. They may be unable or unwilling to imagine a future where getting drunk or high is not included.
Many young people are also still very impacted by the attitudes and actions of the members of their immediate families. Dysfunctional relationships with parents or siblings, or the sudden loss of a parent, can have a devastating impact on their self-esteem and their willingness to engage in the recovery process. Codependent parents may also undermine the recovery process through their own misinformed and unhelpful words and actions. This is one reason that comprehensive family counseling is so important for young people in recovery. Addiction is truly a family disorder and everyone under the same roof has a role to play in its treatment.
If you have questions or concerns about addiction recovery for young people, please call our toll-free helpline right now. Whether you are a young person seeking freedom from drugs, alcohol, or addictive behaviors such as cutting, anorexia, or sex addiction, or a parent worried about your young adult child, we can help. The call is completely confidential and there are no strings attached. Call now.