It’s important for young adults to receive treatment for their addiction early to break the cycle and begin a pathway to recovery so they can reclaim their life. However, convincing a young person that they need help for their addiction can be challenging.
Young people and addiction
Young people between the ages of 18 and 24 have a high rate of substance abuse and addiction and they have been identified as a priority population in the National Drug Strategy 2017–2026. The truth is, young adults battle substance abuse differently than adults over the age of 25. They are more inclined to binge on drugs and alcohol, hide their substance use from family and continue to use the substance, regardless of any consequences – financial, legal or otherwise. They are also less likely to have major responsibilities such as a mortgage and children.
“There can be a sense of freedom in their lives without responsibility for others,” says Diane Young, therapist at South Pacific Private. “There is often a desire for young people to fit in and be a part of their social group. This can involve partying, alcohol, and drugs. It is not only when with friends – it can also stem from wanting to be part of their professional team.”
According to Diane, even when young people are aware of their toxic behaviour and the negative impact it is having on their life, they usually feel that they can ‘stop’ or ‘tone down’ their substance use whenever they decide to. “This can be delusional, and binges will usually continue until they get into consistent trouble as a result of drinking and/or drug taking.”
Treatment for young adults
It’s important for young adults to get treatment for their addiction early to break the cycle. Recovery can be complicated and a young person needs the support of their family and friends. “Treatment is imperative. The earlier young people with addictive tendencies seek help, the quicker they will be able to get their lives back on track,” says Diane.
At South Pacific Private, we believe in treating the underlying causes and clients within the context of their family system. “Substances are often used to mask other mental health issues and these will need to be treated in conjunction with their addiction,” explains Diane. “For example, disorders such as depression and anxiety, ADHD, and PTSD and traumatic histories can be treated when the young person is in rehab. Prior to this, it is difficult to accurately assess other disorders as addiction can present many complexities.”
Addiction can also significantly affect families and their ability to foster connection and enjoy healthy relationships with each other. The program at South Pacific Private offers a deeper understanding of addiction and the impact on families, increased compassion and respite – and helps family members communicate with and support their loved one after treatment. This gives the client the best possible chance at recovery. “Young people will often need some long-term support to relearn how to live in the world without using substances,” adds Diane. “If they are separated from their family and friends, they may need time to reintegrate into society and to reconnect with those close loved ones.”
If you or someone you know is experiencing addiction, please call us on 1800 063 332 or contact us here to find out more about our programs.