There seems to be a stigma attached to individuals who are victims of substance abuse. It is important to remember that they are just that, victims. It is easy to blame poor life choices for becoming addicted to various drugs. In reality, those suffering from drug addiction and alcohol abuse should be viewed the same as someone with a physical illness such as diabetes. When we look at substance abuse, there seems to be a staggering number of millennials who suffer from drug addiction, alcohol use, or have attempted or succeeded in taking their own life as compared to older generations. Why is this? How can you help your loved ones who are victims of drug addiction? This is your guide to millennials and substance abuse treatment.
There are several reasons that substance abuse has taken a sharp upturn with millennials. This generation has been “thrown to the wolves”, so to speak. On average, millennials had comfortable childhoods. However, they grew up in an age when they took on thousands of dollars worth of debt to earn a degree, only to enter a workforce experiencing an economic recession. This meant that jobs were hard to come by and degrees didn’t carry the same weight that they once did.
Millennials have been left with a heavy debt load and the inability to find jobs that pay well enough to pay these debts back. This, understandably, has led to feelings of desperation as they have basically taken hard hits before they even had a chance to make something of themselves. Many millennials end up moving back in with their parents at one time or another due to the inability to financially support themselves.
Social media and cell phones have allowed millennials to become more connected with a virtual world than ever before. Instead of engaging with the people who are physically present around them, they are now worried about what is being said about them on Facebook and how many likes and follows they are receiving on Twitter.
Millennials have also grown up in a generation where alcohol and drug use aren’t as frowned upon as they once were. There are more substances available that pose a bigger threat than ever before, such as opioids and other hard drugs. This day and age is very much a “do what you want to and nobody should tell you any different” age.
If you suspect a loved one is suffering from drug addiction or alcoholism, but are not sure how to know for sure, here are some classic signs to look for:
Changes in appetite as well as significant fluctuations in weight
Having the appearance of always being exhausted
Inability to keep up with responsibilities such as work or school
Distancing themselves from family and friends
The need for increased privacy
Extreme mood swings
Drugs and alcohol affect everyone differently. This is by no means an exhaustive list, but good signs to look for if you think a loved one is a victim of substance abuse.
The bottom line is that according to AddictionCenter, millennials are most likely to die from substance abuse and alcohol. The fact of the matter is that approaching your millennial directly about his or her substance abuse is more than likely going to make them angry. It can be difficult to convince an addict to seek help. However, it is very important that they receive the help they need.
Be gentle and compassionate when having a conversation with a loved one about drug and alcohol addiction. Understand that it may take time and more than one conversation before they are ready to seek treatment. Allow them to open up about their lives and their struggles. Refrain from critiquing, as that will only make them withdraw and shut down. You should be a safe place; you should be someone they can confide in without judgment. When the time is right, suggest a treatment program and offer to accompany them for support. Never give up. Even if they are resistant at first, they need someone who cares.
Fairwinds understands that seeking help is the hardest step. While there is no instant cure and recovery takes time and work, our facility offers the utmost compassionate care throughout your loved one’s journey. We believe in total recovery. This means when your loved one first arrives, a complete evaluation will be conducted to not only diagnose drug addiction but any underlying mental or emotional issues as well. A personalized treatment plan is then devised for each patient to enable them to recover physically, mentally, and emotionally. Total body recovery prevents the chances of a relapse. Contact us today and help your millennial seek the treatment necessary for a bright future!