Identifying Different Types of Addiction in Young Adults

March 7, 2023

Written By: Buena Vista Recovery

When we think of addiction, we might picture a person with an addiction problem. These could be individuals who receive DUIs or those who can’t hold a job because they can’t stay sober during the week and therefore keep coming to work late. However, there are people struggling with addiction who may not even realize they have a problem. This can be especially true for young adults.

There are many common signs and symptoms that indicate that someone is struggling with substances. Learning about these signs and symptoms and learning about the different types of addictions that young adults face can be incredibly helpful when you are trying to talk to someone who is using substances. It can help you learn how to encourage them to seek treatment when they are ready to receive help. 

What Is Addiction?

Addiction is a complex issue that is plaguing families around the world today. The National Insitute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) defines addiction as “a chronic disease characterized by drug seeking and use that is compulsive, or difficult to control, despite harmful consequences.” 

It may be common for young adults to struggle with identifying their own issues with substance abuse. Still, there are many unique stressors that young adults face that can make them more vulnerable to developing an addiction. 

Addiction can affect all different types of people, people of all ages. However, it often starts in adolescence or early adulthood. Unfortunately, there are no one things that cause addiction, so pinpointing the trigger that potentially leads to addiction can be difficult. Research has confirmed both genetic and environmental factors may lead to the abuse of substances. 

Signs and Symptoms of Addiction in Young Adults

The signs and symptoms of addiction in young adults can vary based on their addictions. Some general things that can help you notice if someone is struggling with addiction can be: 

  • Poor performance at school or work
  • Problems managing money or paying bills on time
  • Frequent conflicts with friends/family members about the recreational use of substances
  • Spending more time thinking about their drug of choice instead of doing other activities. 
  • Using substances every day instead of every once in a while. 

These examples only scratch the surface of possible indicators of addiction. Not all people who are struggling with addiction will show these particular signs or symptoms. Likewise, it’s important to remember that addiction affects everyone differently. 

Changes in Behavior

Large behavioral changes can be an indication of substance use disorder (SUD). If a loved one is experiencing a variety of behavioral changes, it might be worth having a conversation with them to see if they are using substances. Many times, alcohol and drugs can make someone become unrecognizable to themselves. For example, they may lose weight without trying. On the other hand, they may look tired from uncontrollable insomnia. 

Looking out for behavioral changes can be the first sign that something is not right with your young adult loved one. It is important for parents to understand how stressors like work, school, and relationships can contribute to addiction. Parents must understand that certain symptoms, such as increased secrecy and isolation, may not only indicate SUD but can also pose increased risks for initiating substance use.

How Stressors Contribute to Different Types of Addiction

Taking the time to learn about the unique stressors your young adult might be facing can help you better understand their risks of substance use. For example, if they are working long hours at a job that they don’t particularly enjoy, this can influence their desire to engage in substance use. Additionally, if they are attending college and are drowning in schoolwork, they may feel compelled to drink alcohol to relax. 

There are many different stressors that can increase the risk of substance use and abuse in your young adult. Therefore, it is important for parents and loved ones to be understanding. Your young adult is not “being dramatic” or “looking for attention.” Substance use is serious and requires certain measurements be taken for recovery, including participation in treatment. 

Seeking Treatment for Different Types of Addiction

If you or a loved one is struggling with an addiction, know that help is available. Addiction treatment can be a difficult process, but it’s worth it to get their life back on track and start living in a way that aligns with their values.

Many different types of treatment centers offer different approaches to addiction recovery. The right one for your loved one will depend on what kind of treatment works best for their unique situation as well as the presence of any co-occurring mental health disorders. 

Two common types of therapy offered for substance use disorders are:

  • Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT): This type of therapy helps people identify their negative thought patterns before they lead them into harmful behaviors. It helps clients to address the connections between their thoughts, emotions, and behaviors.
  • Motivational interviewing: This approach uses interviewing strategies to help motivate an individual to overcome feelings of ambivalence that they may have about sobriety.

If you think your loved one might have a problem with addiction, it’s important to get them help as soon as possible. Addiction is a serious issue that can lead to long-term health problems and even death if left untreated. If you suspect that your loved one may be struggling with addiction, it is important to seek professional help from a therapist or counselor who specializes in treating young adults. Here at Buena Vista, we are here to help you and your loved one through this difficult challenge. We create individualized plans for each client that enters our facility to give them the best possible chance at recovery. For more information, please call us at (480) 741-9414 or complete an insurance form.