Addiction in Young Adults: Warning Signs and Effective Treatment

It is no secret that the teenage years can be turbulent. Through all the emotional, physical, and psychological changes that take place during this stage in life, risky behavior, mood swings, and experimentation are often treated as normal.

However, it is important to understand that the use of drugs and alcohol has the potential to lead to addiction for people of any age, even young adults.

While many teens who experiment with substances do not become dependent, for some, it is the beginning of a long struggle with addiction.

Because there is no way to predict which teens will become addicted to drugs and alcohol, it is important for parents to pay attention. Many will write off their child’s substance use as a phase and ignore the symptoms of addiction.

While not all substance use disorders look the same, there are some indicative warning signs to watch out for.

4 Warning Signs of Addiction in Young Adults and Descriptions of Each

1. Changes in Behavior

As youth transition to the teenage years and beyond, there will be obvious behavioral changes, but it’s important to pay attention to changes that are out of the ordinary such as:

  • Poor academic performance
  • Missing school or extracurricular activities
  • Changing friends or social circles
  • Acting isolated and secretive
  • Illegal behavior
  • Anger and hostility
  • Increased privacy
  • Unexplained disappearances

2. Psychological Changes

Here again, changes will be normal as children grow and it’s important to watch for changes that are outside of their regular patterns like some of these on this list:

  • Frequent mood swings
  • Low energy
  • Slurred or rapid speech
  • Fear or paranoia
  • Dramatic shifts in energy
  • Memory problems
  • Poor concentration
  • Manipulative behavior

Warning Signs of Addiction in Young Adults

3. Changes in Health

Some health changes are normal due to physical growth or being more active in sports or other activities but some of these here also correspond to drug or alcohol use:

  • Decreased or increased appetite
  • Coordination issues
  • Frequent illness
  • Erratic sleep schedule

4. Changes in Appearance

Teens and young adults often change their appearance dramatically as they discover new social circles or mature, and that is perfectly normal. Most of the items below are outside of normal appearance changes and are often indicative of drug or alcohol use:

  • Pinpoint pupils
  • Wearing long sleeves in warm weather
  • Visible track marks
  • Constant scratching
  • Sudden weight loss or weight gain
  • Poor hygiene
  • Bruises, cuts, and sores
  • Unusual odor
  • Bloodshot eyes

What to Expect in Recovery

Addiction is a disease that does not follow stereotypes and can happen to anyone of any age. Because substance use disorders occur in people of varied ages, backgrounds, and experiences, there is also no one cure for addiction.

In the case of young adults, it is essential for recovery programs to provide an effective treatment plan as well as the important life skills their clients will need after treatment.

Gender Specific Treatment

It is the mission of any successful recovery program to create a safe, comfortable environment for their clients. An important element of this is gender specific treatment.

By separating male-identifying and female-identifying young adults, clients are more inclined to open up and be vulnerable when in group discussions, making for the most effective treatment.

Life Skills

It is no secret that millennials are growing up in a unique time. In a world of modern distractions, it is harder for our youth to learn the necessary life skills that were once considered basic.

Along with treating addiction, successful recovery programs also mentor their clients, giving them the tools they need to rebuild their lives upon discharge.

Career Building

Very few young adults struggling with addiction have learned how to hold down an entry level job, let alone establish a career. This is why recovery programs must offer training and support that will prepare their clients for life after addiction.

The most effective programs do this by providing therapies that help their clients recognize their interests and desires, and guiding them as they create a plan for their future.

Young Adult Addiction Treatment

The Alo Approach to Young Adult Addiction Treatment

At Alo House, is it our mission to assess each client as an individual and create a treatment plan with their specific needs in mind.

As many of our young adult clients are in the midst of a time of self-discovery, we strive to walk through this process with them and encourage their growth and transformation while providing the support they need.

We understand the importance of preparing our clients for life in the real world. Because of this, we travel alongside them as they prepare for a career or education.

In all things, it is our goal to guide, not judge. Our advice is always bolstered by encouragement and care, giving our clients the freedom to explore the many options for their future and confidently determine their best path.

Our care does not end when our young adult clients leave our treatment. Through our alumni community, clients who have completed our program always have access to a network of understanding, like-minded individuals, offering the connection and support they need to thrive after addiction.

Find out more information on Alo Recovery’s Treatment Program.

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We believe trust, meaningful connections, and kindness are the essentials to beginning a journey in recovery. We are dedicated to providing an honest, authentic, and genuine treatment environment that gives our clients a unique opportunity for healing.

Alo House is LegitScript Certified and a Joint Commission Accredited Addiction Treatment Center.