How Do I Help a Young Adult Struggling With Addiction?


Addiction knows no age. Young adulthood is one of the most confusing times of life, as individuals may be planning on going to college, moving out of their parent’s home, or finding a long-term career path. When addiction comes into play during young adulthood, things become more confusing and perhaps frustrating. Guiding and supporting a young adult as they navigate their addiction and recovery can be difficult. However, there are many ways that you can help contribute toward a successful recovery for them. 

Initiate a Conversation

As no one would want to watch someone else struggle with addiction, watching close family members and friends struggle with addiction silently is much worse. One way to help a young adult struggling would be to initiate a conversation about their addiction. Those first few conversations addressing addiction can be frightening and confusing for both people involved. However, it creates a necessary dialogue that brings awareness to the harm it is causing. 

By starting the conversation, you let the young adult know that you are comfortable talking about it, giving them a safe space to discuss emotions and behaviors. The most challenging part about having an addiction is that it fosters isolation and loneliness, whereas talking about it can make it feel more normalized. The young adult may become more comfortable asking questions or perhaps seeking treatment when they have had the opportunity to discuss their addiction and bring awareness to its severity.

Eliminate Enabling Behaviors

Enabling behaviors are acts that give an individual the means to do something. As a parent or guardian, enabling behaviors become present when a parent wants to protect and shield their young adult from harm and pain. Enabling comes in many forms, such as providing money to the young adult who may use the money for drugs or alcohol, ignoring harmful behaviors, lying to cover up the young adult’s addiction, or trying to “save” them every time they need help. 

Enabling behaviors are more harmful than helpful, as they condition a young adult to believe that someone will always be there to solve their problems when they are unable to do it themselves. By enabling a young adult, you communicate that you support their addictive behavior and will continue to take care of the consequences as they arise. Eliminating such behaviors will help encourage personal growth and may encourage the young adult to seek treatment. 

Alter the Living Environment

If you live with a young adult struggling with an addiction, one of the most helpful things you can do would be to alter the living space. A good example of this would be to fit the needs of the individual with an addiction, such as ridding alcohol from the home when there is an alcohol addiction present. 

Another way to alter the living environment would be cleaning and organizing. Let go of the things that no longer serve you or anyone else in the home. Fostering this mindset can help focus the mind on healthier, better things. Being in a living space where there is clutter, mess, or other chaos will inevitably add stress and anxiety to your life. Whether the young adult lives at home or has their own space, a cleaner living space will benefit everyone. 

Suggest Treatment and Consider Therapy

If the young adult you care about is on the brink of treatment, it may be helpful to locate local resources beside them. There are endless treatment options ranging from therapy support groups to inpatient residential treatment. Treatment programs can be traditional or more holistic, which are essential to consider regarding lifestyle accommodations. 

When looking for treatment, suggest that the young adult sees their physician, who can help identify personal needs and the severity of the addiction. A physician will likely be able to provide local resources and treatment centers for young adults as well. 

Therapy or counseling is always a great place to start. Discussing problems with an unbiased source may feel more comfortable than talking with a family member about the issues at hand. It may also benefit you to seek out support groups for parents or friends of individuals addicted to drugs or alcohol. These types of programs will help you better understand warning signs and symptoms and identify addictive behaviors. As you attend support groups, you also get to hear experiences of people going through similar situations and may find the perfect advice for what you are going through. Support groups can also help you remember to take care of yourself while caring for the young adult. 

When addiction hits during young adulthood, family members or parents often struggle with providing advice or help. By initiating a conversation with a young adult about their addiction, they may feel comfortable asking questions or disclosing their struggles, helping them get one step closer to recovery. You can create a safe space to ask questions and talk about treatment. Organizing the living space and ridding substances from the home can also make the home environment feel safer. Eliminate enabling behaviors for the young adult, such as giving them money that they may use for drugs, or lying to cover up their addiction. These actions will encourage the young adult to seek treatment for the addiction at hand. At Casa Recovery, we provide various treatment options and resources for individuals affected by addiction and other mental health disorders. With multiple treatment options, there is a treatment fit for everyone at Casa. For more information, call (888) 928-2272.

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