SOBA New Jersey is dedicated to addiction and mental health treatment for young adults struggling with growing up in the world. We offer a comprehensive path to recovery from various substance use disorders, including those struggling with alcoholism, opioid addiction, cocaine use, benzo use, and more.

Young adults go through enough as they find their place in life, start families and careers, and deal with the daily struggles thrown at them. We’ve put together this resource to help understand what young adults are going through and get them the help they need to overcome addiction.

How Do Young Adults Get Addicted to Drugs and Alcohol?

It depends. There are a variety of factors that impact young adults addicted to drugs and alcohol.

Many are genetically predisposed and raised in environments where substance use is, unfortunately, part of their daily life.

Others are exposed to environmental factors as they go through high school, then college, and in the working world around them.

They go out and drink after work, or they party all night instead of studying for their next big test. It’s easy to fall into a pattern of drinking too much or trying drugs and getting hooked:

  • Peer pressure encourages young adults to participate in what their friends, coworkers, or fellow students are doing.
  • The stress of being thrown into the adult world and navigating it from finishing school to holding a job.
  • Starting a career and the pressures that come with supporting themselves.
  • Thinking about starting a family and what comes next for supporting that family.
  • An injury that leads to popping pills to get relief from the pain.

Young Adult Alcoholism

Young adult alcoholism typically starts as early as middle school or high school, depending on friend groups and peer pressure. Once young adults make it to the workforce or college, hanging out with coworkers or friends, or blowing a night off to binge drink to avoid college responsibilities becomes an everyday ritual.

As young adults are exposed to more pressure and social situations where drinking is prevalent, they indulge more because “everybody else is doing it.” Eventually, this can lead to alcohol use disorder.

Some statistics about young adult drug use to be aware of from the National Center for Drug Abuse Statistics (NCDAS):

  • 11.72 million 18- to 25-year-olds report binge drinking in the last month.
  • 7.10 million 12- to 20-year-olds report drinking in the last month.
  • Among them, 60.2% reported binge drinking during that period.

Read more: Signs of Alcohol Withdrawal in Teens and Young Adults

Young Adult Drug Use

Young adult drug use is rising among children as early as 12 years old. Often, they’re exposed to drug use at home or from friends. They try something once, it feels good, and they keep using it until they’re hooked.

When young adults make it to college, they’re exposed to a world they aren’t quite prepared for most of the time. When friends are doing something, like cocaine or heroin, they feel pressured to try it, too. Then, they get hooked and discover feeling “good” helps them get through the rough patches of growing up, tackling school work, and getting through the tedium of a job.

Additional statistics on young adult drug use from the NCDAS:

  • 11.89 million 18- to 25-year-olds used drugs in the last month.
  • 4,777 Americans aged 15 to 24 years old died of an overdose of illicit drugs in one year.
  • 11.2% of overdose deaths are aged 15 to 24 years.

Read more: Telltale Signs of Drug Addiction in Young Adults

Young Adult Benzo Use

Benzodiazepine (benzo) use are medications typically used for seizures, anxiety, and insomnia. Xanax, Ativan, and Valium are some examples of benzos young adults indulge in to get a good night’s sleep after working an overnight or overcome the anxiety of a huge course-load from college.

For young adults overwhelmed by life, benzo use helps them calm down and relax when they’d otherwise be overcome by their anxiety. Benzodiazepines are often prescribed by a medical professional, as young adults need more to cope with their anxiety, they take more until they need to find a fix elsewhere. For other young adults, they

A study hosted by the National Institute of Health (NIH), says the following about benzo use among young adults;

  • Young adults ages 18–29 report the highest rates of BZD misuse in the United States.
  • Polydrug use involving BZDs is particularly dangerous when combined with other central nervous system depressants, including alcohol and opioids.

Young Adult Opioid Use

Young adult opioid use, like adult use, has skyrocketed over the last decade. It’s considered a public health crisis in America.

From prescription drug abuse to chasing highs, opioids are easy to get from doctors in cases of injury – or easy to take from people with a valid prescription.

Many young adults turn to opioids after an accident or injury, slowly getting addicted and not being able to live pain-free without them. For other young adults, they find their friends using their parents’ prescription to get high, relax, or help them sleep. Unfortunately, their parents are often none the wiser.

NCDAS statistics on young adult opioid use:

  • Overdose deaths due to opioids have increased 500% among 15- to 24-year-olds since 1999.
  • In the 21st Century, opioid-related OD deaths among this age group increased by as much as 30.7% annually.
  • High school students who legitimately use prescription opioids are 33% more likely to misuse opioids after high school.

Read more: Prescription Drug Abuse and Addiction Treatment

Do Young Adults Need Rehab for Addiction?

Sometimes yes, yes, they do.

Young adults, just like anybody suffering from alcoholism or drug addiction, need the support of family, friends, and medical professionals to begin their path to recovery.

For so long, they’ve been struggling alone or been in denial about not only their substance use disorder but also what led them to begin to use or drink in the first place. With the guidance of SOBA New Jersey, they can start to work on their addiction issues and mental well-being.

Finishing school, choosing a career path, starting a family, losing your first love, and peer pressure from everyone in their social circle can lead young adults to drug or alcohol addiction. While not everyone ends up with a substance abuse disorder, recognizing what’s leading a young adult to drink and do drugs is just as important as treating the addiction itself.

Many young adults aren’t ready to face the pressure, pain, or physical symptoms of withdrawing without the love and support of family and friends. If you suspect your child may need rehab, read this resource from our team on signs to look out for.

Read more: A Guide for the Families of Addicts and Alcoholics

What to Expect from Rehab as a Young Adult

Learn more about our drug rehab for young adults’ program here.

SOBA New Jersey is Committed to Young Adult Substance Abuse Recovery

SOBA New Jersey is here to help support you and your family as you navigate treatment, rehab, and continuation of care now and in the future. No young adult should suffer alone or feel they need to turn to drugs or alcohol to get by – SOBA New Jersey is here to help.

If you’re ready to start your path to recovery or ready to support the journey of a loved one, call us or contact us today.