How do we address our young adult using illicit substances? This is a question I’m often asked by parents. Emerging Adults are at high risk for experimenting with drugs and alcohol – in fact, by the time a person graduates from high school, nearly one half of their peers have used illicit drugs. Parents sometimes attribute drug and alcohol use to it’s just “teenagers just being teenagers” and recall their own youthful experiences. When should a parent start to consider substance abuse treatment or sober living for their child?
Many things are taking place cognitively, emotional, and physically in the mind of a young adult. Development takes time, and it has been shown that the corpus callosum and prefrontal cortex structures continue developing into our mid-20’s. With this development, things like impulse control are affected. We also know that risk taking behavior decreases over time, so young adults are more likely to participate in risky behaviors than their older peers.
What do we do? It is important that parents are honest with their young adult children and share real life experiences from their life or others. Educate your child about the dangers of illicit substances, high-risk behavior such as drinking and driving, the risk of jail, and so on. The idea is not to use fear, but to allow your loved one to make informed decisions based on factual information.
At Oak Tree Recovery Homes, we work closely with our clients to support the continued development of impulse control and healthy assertive communication, as well as emotional regulation. Taking a person-centered approach and paying close attention to our clients allows for the best therapeutic relationships and interventions to happen. Supporting young adults with real-life shared experience is a component of our program that is consistent and effective. Research shows that shared real-life experience is a core component of productive group therapy. Oak Tree takes advantage of the community setting every morning by facilitating a recovery group for all clients.
David Ellis, CADC, CPRC
If you have a loved one struggling with substance abuse and need guidance, please reach out to Oak Tree and we will hold your hand through this difficult process. A simple phone call to a friendly voice is all it takes. 828.275.1319