Addiction in Young Professionals

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

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:

Young professionals group

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.