The young adult years, particularly between 18 and 25, are a dangerous time for drug and alcohol use. The earlier someone starts using drugs or alcohol, the more likely she will develop a substance use disorder later on. Drugs and alcohol can also harm developing brains, leading to lower IQ and less self-control as adults. Parents try to warn their kids about drugs and alcohol, yet it remains common among teens. The CDC estimates that about half of high school students will have tried marijuana by the time they graduate, while more than two thirds will have tried alcohol. Binge drinking and illicit drug use are even more common among college students. Why are young adults so prone to substance use?
Their friends do it.
Perhaps the biggest reason young adults use drugs or alcohol is because their friends do. Young adults are hard-wired to be more concerned about their friends’ opinions than their parents’. Social acceptance is the single most important thing to most young adults, even if they don’t admit it. Therefore, it’s very difficult to be the only one in the group who says no to drugs or alcohol.
About 20 percent of young adults will experience at least one episode of depression, compared to about seven percent of adults who will have a depressive episode in any given year. This high rate of depression is likely because of social uncertainty, academic pressure, too little sleep, and having had little practice regulating their emotions. Depression is a major factor in substance use. Young men, in particular, are prone to reckless behavior, including drug use when they are depressed.
A surprisingly large number of young adults suffer from anxiety disorders. About 40 percent of teens will suffer from an anxiety disorder by age 18, and girls are twice as likely as boys to suffer from an anxiety disorder and left untreated, these only get worse. These include generalized anxiety disorder, social anxiety disorder, phobias, and panic disorder. Drugs and alcohol may be a way for some young adults to find temporary relief from their anxiety. Young adults who are especially anxious about their grades may be tempted to use study drugs like Adderall to get ahead, which can also lead to dependence.
They want to seem grown up.
Young adults are often eager to be adults and seem grown up and independent. Many young adults will drink and use drugs to seem more sophisticated. They may use other drugs like stimulants to look like they have it all together at work or school. This is especially true of young adults who learn from their parents that adult behavior means drinking and using drugs.
If your young adult child is struggling with addiction or mental illness, we can help. Recovery Ways is a premier drug and alcohol addiction treatment facility located in Salt Lake City, Utah. Our Copper Hills facility specializes in treatment for adults between the ages of 19 and 29. We have the resources to effectively treat a dual diagnosis. Our mission is to provide the most cost-effective, accessible substance abuse treatment to as many people as possible.
Request information online or call us today at 1-888-986-7848.