Substance use disorder is a disease that doesn’t care for a person’s age, circumstances, or any other aspect of a person’s life. Addiction can sink its teeth into anybody from adolescents to senior citizens in Massachusetts. There are many young adults throughout the United States that suffer from addiction and need help. In fact, some studies have shown that by their senior year of high school, nearly 50% of students had abused illicit substances. It’s because of this that educating oneself on the dangers of addiction, especially in young adulthood, is imperative.
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How Do Young Adults Become Addicted to Substances?
Young adults can become addicted to substances for a variety of reasons. Some young adults are introduced to drugs or alcohol at a party or through friends and become curious about them. Others may turn to substances as a way to cope with stressors in their life, such as academic pressure or family problems. Still, others may be seeking thrills or excitement and turn to substances as a way to get high.
Whatever the reason, once someone begins using drugs or alcohol, they are at risk for developing an addiction. Addiction is a chronic, relapsing disease that is characterized by compulsive drug use despite negative consequences. People with addiction often feel like they cannot control their drug use and may keep using even when it causes problems in their life.
Addiction is a complex disease, and there is no one-size-fits-all solution to treatment. However, effective treatment can help people to stop using drugs and alcohol, rebuild their lives, and regain control of their health.
How Does Addiction Happen?
Addiction develops in the brain when an individual repeatedly exposes themselves to a certain addictive substance or activity. With each repeated exposure, the brain starts to adjust its chemistry in order to accommodate for the presence of the addiction. This adjustment process is what leads to addiction becoming a chronic and relapsing disease.
There are several key areas of the brain that are affected by addiction. The first is the reward system, which is responsible for releasing feel-good chemicals like dopamine. Dopamine is what gives people that “rush” or “high” feeling that they often associate with using drugs or alcohol. The problem is that the brain can only produce so much dopamine on its own. So, when people abuse drugs or alcohol, they are essentially overwhelming the brain with dopamine, which can lead to feelings of euphoria.
The other key area of the brain affected by addiction is the prefrontal cortex. This is the part of the brain that is responsible for executive functioning, such as decision-making, impulse control, and judgment. When the prefrontal cortex is impaired, it can be difficult for people to make healthy choices and control their impulses. This can lead to risky behaviors, such as using drugs or alcohol despite the consequences.
The good news is that the brain is relatively resilient and has the ability to recover from addiction with treatment. With proper care, people who have struggled with addiction can learn to live healthy, productive lives.
What Challenges Do Young Adults Face When Addicted?
One of the biggest challenges that young adults face when they’re addicted to drugs is finding treatment. Many insurance companies don’t cover addiction treatment, and even if they do, there may not be any nearby facilities that accept that insurance. This can make getting help very difficult and expensive.
Another challenge is dealing with the stigma surrounding addiction. There is still a lot of shame and judgment associated with being addicted to drugs, which can make it hard for people to seek help. Many young adults feel like they have to hide their addiction from their friends and family, which can make recovery even harder.
What Barriers do Young Adults Face When Seeking Rehab?
One of the biggest barriers that young adults face when seeking rehab is finding affordable treatment. Many insurance plans do not cover the cost of rehab or only cover a portion of it, which can make it difficult for families to afford the care their loved ones need. Additionally, some families may not be able to take time off work or away from other responsibilities to care for their loved ones during treatment.
Another barrier young adults face is the preconceived notions surrounding addiction and mental health disorders. Peer pressure can also have an impact on a person’s decision to attend rehab. Additionally, many people are not aware of the resources available to them, or they may be too embarrassed to ask for help.
What are the Benefits of Young Adult Rehab?
There are many benefits to young adult rehab, including helping young adults learn how to cope with addiction, develop positive coping mechanisms, and gain insight into their own addictive behaviors. In addition, rehab can provide a support network for young adults who are struggling with addiction. Finally, rehab can help young adults develop a new sense of purpose and direction in their lives.
Why is the Development of Coping Skills Important in Recovery?
It is important to develop coping skills in recovery as they can help to reduce stress, manage difficult emotions and provide a sense of control during challenging situations. Coping skills can be learned through therapy, support groups, or self-help books and websites. Some common coping skills include the following:
- Relaxation techniques such as deep breathing or progressive muscle relaxation
- Cognitive strategies such as challenging negative thoughts or refocusing on positive aspects of a situation
- Coping statements such as “I can handle this” or “This is not the end of the world”
- Physical activity or exercise to release tension and boost mood
- Connecting with others for support and social connection
- Journaling or writing as a way to express emotions and gain clarity
- Creativity such as art, music or other forms of self-expression
Developing healthy coping skills can take time and practice. It is important to be patient with yourself and remember that everyone copes in different ways. The most important thing is to find what works for you and to keep using those coping skills when needed.
What Types of Young Adult Rehab Are There?
There are many different types of young adult rehab programs available in Massachusetts. Some programs focus on helping young adults recover from substance abuse, while others focus on mental health issues or behavioral problems. There are also programs that combine both approaches. The most important thing is to find a program in Massachusetts that meets the specific needs of the individual. Some of these programs include the following:
- Outpatient treatment
- Medication-assisted treatment