Teens and young adults with substance misuse disorders often have different treatment needs than older people. On top of addressing addiction, relapse prevention and withdrawal, young people may need help learning valuable life skills, for example. Various counseling techniques can focus on these unique challenges and provide a foundation for lifelong recovery.
Drug and Alcohol Experimentation Is Common Among Young Adults
According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, adolescence and young adulthood is a time when people are likely to begin sampling – and getting hooked on – different kinds of drugs. Their research reports that by their senior year of high school:
- 70 percent of teens have tried alcohol
- 50 percent have used an illegal drug
- 40 percent have smoked a cigarette
- 20 percent have used a prescription drug in a non-medical or recreational way
Young Adults and Risk-Taking Behavior
According to neuroscientists, the prefrontal cortex – which is the region of your brain responsible for governing impulse control and decision-making – doesn’t completely finish developing until the mid-20s.
While some amount of adventurousness and experimental behavior is normal and healthy for young adults, regular use of drugs or alcohol while the brain is still in these formative stages can put them at greater risk of developing an addiction. Age-specific programs tailored to the specific needs of teens and young adults can help them manage problematic drug or alcohol usage.
Red Flags of Substance Misuse
Many teens who try drugs and alcohol do not become dependent. However, for some, this experimentation is the beginning of a long road to addiction. Because there is no way to predict whether a young adult will struggle with a substance misuse disorder, it is vital for parents to know the warning signs of drug use so you can get your son into treatment before it’s too late.
1. Behavioral and Psychological Changes
While it’s common for adolescence to be a turbulent transition, look for changes that are outside the norm for your child, including:
- Loss of interest in academic or extracurricular activities
- Mood swings
- Suspicious or secretive behavior
- Memory problems
- Hostility and anger
- Fluctuating energy levels
2. Health Changes
Some health changes are to be expected during young adulthood, but some of these issues may indicate drug or alcohol use.
- Eating markedly less or more than usual
- Troubles with coordination and balance
- Irregular sleep schedule
3. Appearance Changes
It’s normal for teens and young adults to change their appearance to correspond with their shifting tastes, but be on the lookout for symptoms like unusually large or dilated pupils, poor hygiene, bloodshot eyes and drastic weight loss or gain, all of which may indicate substance misuse.
What Parents Should Expect When Placing Their Child Into Treatment
Addiction can happen to anyone. Because of this, there is also more than one effective treatment method for people with substance abuse issues.
Any successful recovery program aims to provide clients with a safe, comfortable environment, and gender-specific treatment plays a role in this. By separating young adults who identify as male, Spearhead Lodge can eliminate distractions and provide the most appropriate level of customized care. Call or email us today to learn more about treatment for your son.