The Unique Challenges of Young Adults in Recovery

The Unique Challenges of Young Adults in Recovery

A deep challenge for the young addict is that she is still learning how to be an adult

Recovery from addiction to drugs like Lorcet is not easy at any age, but it is particularly difficult for young adults. A variety of current life circumstances and a general lack of experience in life work against sobriety. Adults under the age of 25 have unique challenges facing them as they move into recovery. These difficulties must be understood to support the addict because they impact the way in which young adult addicts are treated and supported in recovery.

An Addictive Culture

More so than any generation before them, this new generation of adults has grown up in a culture that values and celebrates addictive behavior. Whether it is standing in line for days to be one of the first to purchase the latest electronic gadget or beating a video game as soon as possible, individuals ages 18-25 view addictive behaviors as the norm.

This normalcy creates a challenge as these young adults move into recovery for the simple reason that addictive behavior is accepted. As a result, the addict must choose to walk a path that feels foreign to her and breaking the habits are that much more difficult.

Specifically related to addiction to drugs like Lorcet, there is an overly casual attitude toward drug and alcohol use, and this attitude is developed early in life. A recent survey of junior high and high school students confirms this perception. In the study, over 1/3 of high school seniors illegally used alcohol in the 30 days preceding the survey. Further, 64% of this same population does not view regular use of marijuana as a harmful activity.

This approach to addiction as an accepted aspect of life makes the very concept of recovery difficult. The question the young adult might ask would be: “But there is nothing wrong with addiction. Why do I need to recover from it anyway?”

New to Responsibility

A deeper challenge for the young addict is that he is still learning how to be an adult. In many cases, the burdens of responsibility have not been thrust upon him yet due to family dynamics or parental choices. But an addict cannot fall into recovery. She must fight every step of the way.

Because of the delay in responsibility many 18-25 year-olds experience, these individuals often find it more difficult to make the personal choices necessary to stay in recovery and break the power of addiction to drugs like Lorcet. It is a heavy burden for a young man or woman to carry when he or she must learn how to be an adult while battling the social, emotional and physical draws or addiction.

This trend away from responsibility is significant enough serious consideration is being given to adding another developmental stage to life, one that stands between adolescence and adulthood. The five trends of emerging adulthood include the following:

  • Identity exploration
  • Instability
  • Self-focus
  • Feeling in-between
  • Possibilities

An Invincibility Complex

Many 18-25 year olds believe they are invincible. Nothing can slow him down. Nobody can stop her. Nothing can touch him, or so he thinks. When a powerful addiction to drugs like Lorcet begins to rule his life, he is brought down to reality, quickly and brutally. However, in the meantime, it is nearly impossible to convince him that he faces any risk. Even statistics like the fact that 3,000 young adults died from a drug overdose in 2010 will not move him as he will continue to believe such a thing could not happen to him. Overdoses only happen to other people.

This radical shift from invincibility to addiction can produce severe emotional distress including but not limited to extreme anger, depression and suicidal thoughts. While all addicts may find themselves in emotional turmoil, for the young adult it is more profound due to this invincibility complex.

Returning to Addiction is Not the Answer

Returning to an addiction like to Lorcet might seem to make sense especially for the addict for whom sobriety feels boring. Particularly when combined with the very painful withdrawal symptoms, returning feels like the right choice. It might feel as though life is just too physically painful to push through recovery and that no strategy will be successful in restoring luster to a life that is now far too common. But understanding the physiological process takes time to reset, and applying the strategies listed above will allow you to push through to recovery. Consistent use and abuse of drugs or alcohol is not a viable way to move forward with life.

The risks and the cost are simply too high. If this is where you find yourself right now, the most important thing to remember is that you are not alone. We can help you. We can answer your questions. The admission counselors at our toll-free, 24 hour helpline can help you learn more about addiction. They can help you or your loved one find his or her way.