Alcohol Use Among Young Adults
The use of alcohol among college students surpasses that of any other psychoactive
substance by far. The most recent reports from the Monitoring the Future
National Survey estimate that 63% of college students in 2014 consumed
alcohol within the past 30 days and 35% had bouts of heavy drinking (5
or more drinks in a row) in the past 2 weeks. Furthermore:
- 43% reported being drunk in the past 30 days
- 13% reported having 10 or more drinks in a row in the past 2 weeks
- 5% reported having 15 or more in a row
Except for the last 2 rates of extreme binge drinking, these estimates
are between 6-9% higher in college students. In high school, college-bound
students were less likely to consume alcohol. These rates indicate a considerable
increase in the consumption of alcohol in the transition between high
school and college.
Young Adult Rehab
In contrast to alcohol use, the annual popularity of
illicit drug use was lower among college students compared to their non-college associates.
- 39% of college students used illicit drugs
- 44% of non-college young adults used illicit drugs
- 34% of college students used marijuana
- 10% misused prescription amphetamines
- 6.6% used medically unsupervised sedatives/tranquilizers
- 5% methamphetamines and ecstasy
- Slightly less than 5% use of prescription opioids, cocaine, and hallucinogens
Vaping and Marijuana Use Among Teens
marijuana and vaping nicotine rose surprisingly in the three years from 2016 to
2019 among college-age adults (19 to 22 years old). According to the 2019
Monitoring the Future (MTF) survey results, the percentage of college
students who said they vaped marijuana in the past 30 days rose from 5.2%
in 2017 to 14% in 2019. Their non-college-attending peers increased from
7.8% in 2017 to 17% in 2019.
The percentage of college-age adults who vaped nicotine also rose between
2017 and 2019. In 2017, 6.1% of college students and 7.9% of those not
in college said they vaped nicotine in the past month.
By 2019, the increase in vaping nicotine rose to 22% and 18% respectively.
The increase in vaping marijuana and nicotine are among the largest increases
for any substance reported by the Monitoring and Future study in its 45-year history.
So Why Do We Need Young Adult Rehab?
Even though these statistics might seem insignificant, they show just how
much young adults abuse substances such as alcohol. Excessive college
drinking has a marked effect on people and the community at large. Consequences include:
- 1,825 deaths
- 599,000 injuries
- 696 assaults
- 97,000 sexual assaults or date rapes
Additionally, more than 80% of all arrests by college campus police involve
alcohol. About one-fourth of young adult rehab students report problems
with school-related alcohol consumption. This should make it clear that
college substance abuse creates significant community health risks. Likewise,
the risk to the individual may have lifelong consequences.
Personal Consequences Young Adult Rehab
Studies have confirmed various brain structures and physiological changes
associated with adolescent and young adult alcohol use. These changes
develop into problems with:
- executive functioning (thinking, planning, following directions),
- learning and memory
- impulse control
- emotional regulation
Impact on Mental Health
Drug use among young adult rehab college students also puts them at heightened
risk for health, behavioral, and social consequences. Among adults aged
18 and older with serious mental illness, the percentage of those who
had a SUD in the past year was 35% among 18 to 25-year-olds. This was
followed by 26 to 29-year-olds at 25%.
Very often, substance abuse is accompanied by a mental health problem.
It doesn’t matter which came first though, as when co-occurring
they both need to be treated at the same time. A co-occurring substance
use problem and a mental disorder are known as
dual diagnosis disorders.
This evidence indicates that heavy drinking during adolescence and young
adulthood is tied to poor neurocognitive functioning (the ability to think,
reason, learn, speak, and understand) and the ability to identify visual
and spatial relationships among objects.
Those who regularly used marijuana and those who increased their use during
college used health care services more often than not. They also had higher
levels of depressive and anxiety-related symptoms for up to seven years
SUD may also be a risk factor for suicide. It’s important to recognize
this when evaluating the risks for adolescents and young adults.
The co-occurrence of substance use and mental health disorders (such as
panic disorder, major depression, and generalized anxiety disorder) in
college students was associated with higher odds of cigarette smoking.
Unfortunately, of the 67% with frequent binge drinking and co-occurring
mental health problems, only 38% received mental health services.
How To Lower The Risk For Addiction In Young Adults
You can help your loved ones by learning methods to reduce the risk of
substance abuse in young adults and support healthier behavior, while
still not approving of substance use. These methods include:
- Making note of and encouraging any positive changes
- Helping your family member take part in healthy alternatives to substance use
- Setting boundaries
- Use consequences appropriately
Although there is no single answer for all people, strategies that reduce
harm are a good way to lower the social and health risks associated with
substance abuse. This is often a good first step for your loved one to
take on the journey to wellness and sobriety.
Every day, we take part in some type of harm reduction such as washing
our hands, using seatbelts, and wearing helmets and protective gear during
sports activities. Similarly, there are things we can do to reduce the
risks connected to substance abuse.
- When planning to drink alcohol, use public transportation, a ride-sharing
app, or have a designated sober driver.
- Never use substances alone. Risk can be reduced by having an emergency
overdose plan, including having naloxone available (naloxone is a medication
designed to rapidly reverse an opioid overdose).
- Use clean needles and other items, such as bongs to reduce the chance of
infection and spread of diseases.
Remember, any attempt to lower the risks associated with SUD is a step
in the right direction. Understandably, it’s not what you want for
your child, but it is the beginning of recovery.
Substance Use Disorder Treatment: Rehab For Young Adults
The first step in helping your young adult rehab is to contact a medical
professional. You start by finding a clinician who can screen for signs
of drug use and other health conditions. Be sure that the doctor is experienced
in screening for these issues. If they aren’t, find one who is.
Another choice is to find an addiction specialist and contact him or her
directly. 3,500 physicians in the United States specialize in addiction.
Plus, the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry has an Adolescent
Psychiatrist Finder on its website. Using this, an addiction specialist
can help you decide if your young family member should be referred to
a treatment center.
Levels of Care in Treatment for Young Adults
When an adolescent’s use habits and relevant factors have been evaluated,
most of the time they will be referred to one of five treatment levels.
Here, treatment levels are arranged along a continuum of intensity and include:
1. Early intervention:
Educational or short-term intervention services.
2. Outpatient Program (OP):
Typically, young adults attend treatment sessions for about 6 hours per
week. The amount of time young adult rehab patients spend in treatment
depends on their progress and their treatment plans. They will still live
at home and continue to attend school or work.
3. Intensive Outpatient Program (IOP):
Young adults attend treatment during the day and attend sessions for about
20 hours pr week. Program durations range from two months to one year.
4. Residential Program:
Residential (or inpatient) programs provide treatment in a treatment facility.
The patient will live in the facility and receive 24-hour care and monitoring,
free from distractions and triggers to use substances.
5. Medically Managed Intensive Inpatient:
This program is most appropriate for individuals in rehab for young adults
who have medical and emotional problems that are so severe that they require
24-hour medical care.
Common Therapy Approaches In Rehab For Young Adults
Most inpatient and outpatient programs use a diverse treatment approach
by combining several types of
therapy in their treatment programs. The most common are these evidence-based
The family approach to therapy aims to reduce the use of drugs and correct
the problem behaviors that typically go with drug use. This is accomplished
by acknowledging family issues such as poor communication and problem-solving.
Family therapy for adolescents is based on the idea that the family carries the most intense
and long-lasting influence on the child and adolescent development.
Individual therapy is one-on-one counseling between a patient and his or her therapist. It
is meant to uncover issues and problems that may have led to a person’s
substance abuse. All information is strictly confidential to help build trust.
Both individual and
group therapy vs. group therapy when treating adults. However, studies have shown that
group therapy can be risky with adolescents. Some members of the group
may try to lead the discussion toward stories about having fun with drugs.
group therapy for young adult rehab should be used at the discretion of the treatment facility.
This form of therapy has proven to be an effective treatment for substance
use disorders for adults and adolescents alike. Behavioral therapies can
- Become involved in the treatment process
- Change their attitudes and behaviors relating to substance use
- Increase healthy life skills
- Enhance the effectiveness of medications
- Help people stay in treatment longer
Common behavioral therapies include:
Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT):
CBT is based on the idea that your thoughts, feelings, and actions are connected.
And that negative thoughts and feelings can trap you in a destructive cycle.
Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT): DBT is a type of cognitive-behavioral
therapy that also works on how your thoughts, feelings, and behavior affect
each other. But DBT puts more emphasis on regulating emotions, being mindful,
and learning to accept pain.
At Graceland, we specialize in treating dual diagnoses which means we can
treat both mental and substance abuse problems simultaneously. This is
a serious diagnosis that needs to be addressed as soon as possible. Take
the first step and
contact us now.