One of the most significant developments in America today is the failure of millions of young people—even those fully employed—to fully launch into adult life. November, for example, brought a report that 45 percent of young adults in New Jersey between the ages 18 and 34 now live with their parents—even though they are employed. Failure-to-launch is the collective name for the difficulties so many young people today are having in assuming the self-sufficiency and responsibilities of adulthood, and it is a rapidly growing problem.
Many parents on the South Bay are dealing with exactly what the article in Psychology Today has mentioned.
Don’t Blame Yourself
One of the most common reactions a parent will have when dealing with a child who has failed to launch is to assume they’ve done something wrong as a parent. This is not necessarily the case. The way many generations of Americans were raised, with the idea of getting married and moving out on one’s own at the ripe old age of 18, is changing.
The economic environment has even changed immensely from the time millennials were born to now. The rising cost of living and student loan debt oftentimes come out to more than what many employers are willing or able to pay entry level workers. Couple this with many young adults waiting longer to marry or no longer considering marriage at all, and the push to move out becomes less and less urgent.
Another reason worth considering why some adult children may have failed to launch is drug or alcohol abuse. With such easy access to prescription opioids or street drugs like heroin, methamphetamine, and alcohol, many adult children are finding that drug and alcohol abuse is too hard to resist and, ultimately, too hard to overcome.
These individuals are instead taking whatever money they have at their disposal and spending it on supporting their habits instead of supporting themselves. And while this may sound like a working class problem, it has increasingly become a middle and upper class issue. In fact, “Southern California has a long history of drug abuse and addiction, due to its high volume of traffic in and out of the area, its close proximity to Mexico, and its robust transportation system.”
Know the Signs of Drug or Alcohol Abuse
So as a parent, how can you discern whether your child is addicted to drugs or alcohol? Fortunately, there are some pretty telltale signs that can assist. Check out the table below for a complete breakdown by drug.
Foggy mental state
Needle marks and bruising at injection site
Marked drowsiness that lasts for hours
|Methamphetamine||Increased energy and mania
Loss of appetite
Jaw clenching and tremors
Altered sense of time
Impaired motor skills
New onset ADHD
White powder residue
Loss of memory
|Discarded pill bottles
White powder residue
|Alcohol||Loss of interest in work or school
Loss of interest in family or friends
Nausea and vomiting
Drug and Alcohol Abuse Prevention
Even if you’ve reviewed the signs and symptoms above and feel confident your child is not addicted or abusing drugs or alcohol, there are some ways to make sure he or she does engage in this harmful behavior.
Positive, Safe Relationships Are Key to Prevention
The most important thing is to keep an open lines of communication with your son or daughter where they feel comfortable talking to you at any time. This will allow you to help guide them through difficult choices involving friends, drugs, and alcohol.
Much easier said than done, right?
What usually happens when, what may have started out as recreational use, spirals down into addiction is that parents start to shame, blame, and punish in order to try and stop the behavior.
This rarely works.
Many times, drugs and alcohol are used to cope with other life issues or, also not uncommon, mental illnesses. By focusing on what’s going on in your son or daughter’s life, and letting them know you’re there to help, you can often head off a downward spiral, or get them the help they need before it’s gone too far.
Step In Before It Goes Too Far
On the other end of the spectrum is being too enabling. Sure, pot is legal now and you remember drinking in college as well. But you also remember the people that took it too far, that let the drug take over. You also probably know where those people are now, and we bet it’s not a good place.
Once substance use turns into abuse or addiction, the drug hijacks the brain and starts to take over. You want to prevent that from happening or intervene as soon as possible.
Review our warning signs listed above, or give us a call for a free consultation if you aren’t sure what that line is between use and abuse (877-799-1985).
Being honest with ourselves is also extremely important. If you weren’t worried, you probably wouldn’t be reading this. If you’re worried, there is more than likely a problem. It is ALWAYS better to be safe than sorry and at least get an evaluation from a professional.
After all, being an expert in addiction requires hundreds, often thousands of hours of training, and specialized certifications. Many counselors have also been through the hell of addiction themselves and have come out the other side. They know what to look for and how to relate to someone who is where they used to be.
If you haven’t already, download our FREE Comprehensive Guide to Addiction for South Bay Parents.