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Addiction in Young Professionals

Read on to learn more about how addiction in young professionals continues to rise, along with available help.

What Is Drug Addiction?

Addiction is defined as a chronic, recurrent disorder marked by obsessive substance seeking and continued use in the face of negative consequences. It is classified as a brain disorder because it involves functional abnormalities in brain circuits involved in reward, self-control, and stress. Drug use regularly can alter the brain and lead to addiction.1
Psychoeducational Groups

What Is a Young Professional?

Young professionals are those who are aged twenty to thirty-four and work in a professional or technical field. Young professionals are regarded as the future of the professional workforce. However, they tend to face challenges that can drive them to form harmful habits like drug addiction.2

Why Do Young Adults Misuse Substances?

Young adults can misuse drugs for different reasons. This may be to fit into society’s standards of “cool,” to experiment, to feel good, to do better at work, school, or sports, and to feel better.3
Furthermore, specifically among young professionals, the saturated job market in the country can cause mental health disorders that drive young professionals to misuse drugs as a way of coping. As a result of the peculiarity of the problems faced by young adults, young adult addiction treatment should be different from treatment for older generations.

Young Adults and Addiction

Statistics on alcohol abuse for young adults show that this population, specifically those within the twenty-one to twenty-five age bracket, are the highest consumers of alcohol.4
Also, Young adult substance use surveys also indicate that drug addiction is on a rise among young adults.5
One of the major concerns is that the effects of drug abuse on young adults may not be so obvious to them. They develop addiction and dependence over time, which can be the basis for bigger problems later on. Addiction in young adults is a national concern because this impacts the next generation of living and working adults in the country.6

Signs of Young Adults Using Drugs

It’s important to pay attention to young professionals and intervene if you notice any signs of drug use. Early intervention has been proven to be beneficial in overall recovery and can help prevent future relapse as well. Young adults may show both physical and behavioral signs of drug use.7

Physical Signs

Here are some physical signs of addiction in young adults:
  • Frequent illness
  • Fatigue
  • Slurred speech
  • Runny nose or nosebleeds
  • Sores or spots around the mouth
  • Sudden loss of weight
  • Skin bruises
  • Constant perspiration
  • Seizures and vomiting

Behavioral Signs

Some of the most common behavioral signs of drug use include:
  • Bad relationship with family and friends
  • Loss of interest in school or work
  • Avoidance of eye contact
  • Lack of coordination or poor balance
  • Insomnia
  • Cutting ties with people they were once close with
These symptoms will vary from person to person, but they are still good indicators to look for if you suspect a loved one of drug use.

Most Commonly Abused Substances by Young Adults

The most common addictions faced by young professionals are addictions to drugs and alcohol.
These addictions among young adults include:
  • Alcohol
  • Marijuana
  • Cocaine
  • Heroin
  • Tobacco
  • Inhalants (such as spray paint)
  • Prescription drugs (pain relievers, stimulants, and sedatives)

How Drug Use in Young Adults Affects the Developing Brain

The earlier that young adults begin abusing drugs, the more likely they are to continue using them and develop an addiction later in life. Harmful drugs switch on the addictive part of the brain and may also interfere with the developmental process of the brain.

Brain Development

Teenagers who use drugs are a rising problem, and it can cause disruption in brain maturation, along with substantially raising the risk of developing a substance use problem in the short- and long-term.8
In particular, drug misuse affects the development of the prefrontal cortex. As a consequence, the decision-making skills of affected persons are altered.


Young adult drug addiction contributes to long-term cognitive impairment of particular functions such as memory. This is another major reason why substance abuse is detrimental to young adults.

Risk Factors for Drug Use in Young Adults

There are several risk factors for addiction in young professionals. They include: 9
  • Peer pressure
  • Stress
  • Depression and anxiety
  • Trauma
  • Family circumstances

Consequences of Drug Use for Young Adults

As stated previously, young adult addiction is a concern for the whole country. This necessitates the need for young adult addiction treatment. Other consequences of drug use in young adults are stated below.


Substance abuse in young adults can lead to the development of adult health issues which can include high blood pressure, sleep disorders, and heart disease.


One of the signs of drug use is a loss of interest in schooling. From this, it can be inferred that substance abuse in young adults can affect their development in an educational institution and ultimately, may affect what career they can go into or how much schooling they complete.


As with many people who have an addiction, individuals start to show a lack of interest in anything that isn’t the substance. As a result, the careers of young professionals are affected as they may become less productive and stop putting in as much effort at their jobs.


Addiction in young professionals can also affect their finances, as a lot of the money they make is generally used to buy more substances.

Get Addiction Treatment Focused on Young Adults at Alta Centers

As substance abuse in young adults increases, drug addiction programs for young adults are also on the rise. There are various types of treatment for drug addiction today, including behavioral therapies as well as inpatient and outpatient treatments.
Alta Centers offers a residential young adult drug rehab facility in California. At our drug rehab for young adults, we approach each client with customized treatment techniques based on their specific needs. Young adult addiction treatment at Alta Centers begins with detoxification, supervised by highly qualified medical practitioners and care providers. Other young adult addiction services we offer include:
Psychoeducational Groups

Education and Vocational Support

We provide additional help to young adults in our residential care programs through our education and vocational support program.
Each young person receives individualized guidance from our committed team members, who work with them to understand their future career aspirations and guide them to develop achievable goals.

Peer Support Network

Young adult substance abuse treatment at Alta Centers also involves a peer support network. A peer support network gives clients a sense of belonging. Clients also benefit from being among people who are on the same journey as them. Peer support networks provide the opportunity to draw inspiration from others and vice versa.

Sober Living Programs

Alta Centers also provides the support you need during your early days of recovery. Our sober living programs are designed to give clients the support and structure they need to live independently outside rehab.


Therapy programs in young adult substance abuse treatment are vital to maintaining sobriety by developing ways to deal with addiction-fueling factors. Alta Centers offers various evidence-based behavioral therapies to help young adults live healthy lives.

What is an Intervention?

In a situation involving substance use disorder, planning an intervention may be the best, and safest, option to help someone who is living with an addiction. So, what does intervention mean? An intervention is a strategically planned process of confronting the person who is living with addiction about the consequences of their actions while simultaneously encouraging them to accept help and treatment for their addiction.1

The key feature of an intercession is that while it can be an immensely helpful option in convincing a person that they should seek treatment, it should not be done solely by friends and family members. Without the aid of a specialist, or someone who is equally trained in the process of interventions, an intervention may do more harm than good.

An intervention specialist is someone that has been professionally trained in helping people break free from their addictions. They can help a person without judgment, emotions, or blame to understand how their actions are negatively impacting themselves and those that they care about.

When performed properly, without judgment or pressure, and with the aid of a qualified intercession specialist, 80-90% of substance use interventions are successful in convincing the patient to seek help.

Early Intervention

Treatment is more effective the earlier that it begins for an alcohol or drug abuse disorder. As with any other health condition, early intervention and treatment can prevent more significant problems further on in life.

Unfortunately, in many cases, an alcohol addiction intervention or a drug abuse intercession does not take place until most other options have been exhausted. It can be difficult for those struggling with a substance use disorder to realize or admit that they need help.

It often takes a life-altering event, such as a divorce, loss of employment, or a housing crisis for a person to be willing to seek treatment. Because early
alcohol and drug intercession can be so beneficial, first responders must be able to recognize the symptoms of substance abuse.3

What is a Nursing Intervention?

Nursing interventions are often the first time a patient will experience care for their disorder. It takes place when someone enters a care facility such as a clinic or hospital for a condition that may or may not be caused or exacerbated by their substance use disorder.

After initial evaluation and stabilization, a nurse will take action to help their patient by suggesting healthy physical or emotional coping mechanisms for a patient that wants to quit using the substance that they are addicted to. The nurse will also be able to offer education and information to the patient about other treatment facilities or care providers that can help them on their road to recovery.

Alcohol Intervention

A Further Look at Interventions

Nearly 50% of adults in America regularly drink alcohol, and it is believed that as many as 25% of those Americans have an alcohol addiction, most commonly in the form of binge drinking. In many situations, once a person with an alcohol use disorder realizes the way that alcohol is negatively impacting their life, they can reduce the amount that they drink, or even quit entirely, without outside assistance.

However, some people that have an alcohol use disorder are unable to see how their addiction is negatively affecting them. In this situation, an alcohol use intercession can be extremely beneficial. Some of the benefits of interventions include:

Drug Intervention

A Further Look at Interventions

Over nineteen million adults struggle with a drug abuse disorder and of those, nearly 74% also struggle with a co-existing alcohol abuse disorder. Drug abuse and addiction can be a much harder disorder to recover from than alcohol addiction, particularly due to the high rate of co-use that most people with a substance use disorder experience.

In many cases, suddenly stopping the use of an illicit substance can be just as harmful, if not more so than using the substance itself. The side effects and withdrawal symptoms that a person may experience when they decide to stop using a substance can be severe and at times life-threatening.

Luckily, substance use is a highly treatable disorder and several medications can help a person wean off of illicit substances in a safe, sustained, and monitored manner. A drug abuse intervention can help someone realize that they have options and that they can recover safely and healthily.

Questions About Treatment?

Our knowledgeable team is ready to discuss your situation and options. Your call is confidential with no obligation required.