Making the decision to enter a drug and alcohol treatment facility is a big deal and is often times one of the hardest decisions that an addict has to make in their entire life. Most addicts would love to be freed of the bondage of drugs and alcohol, but despite that addicts will continue to use, in most cases, until they hit rock bottom. Hitting the bottom can take decades, only the individual can determine what rock bottom is for them and it is different for everyone. Young adults who enter treatment often have a hard time adapting to the recovery life; they often lack the skills, commitment, and confidence to find recovery without help according to a new study. It is easy for young adults to look around the rooms of recovery and think they do not belong, they see people who clearly abused drugs and alcohol for a much longer period of time and it shows. There is no age limit for addiction and there is no timeline, people can spiral out of control when they are twenty-one the same way they can when they are 65. Just the same, there is no age that is best for people to start down the road to recovery and there are a number of individuals who found sobriety at a young age and are living healthy productive lives to this day.
There is no question that going into recovery at a young age is extremely hard, the thought of never having a drink or drug every again can be overwhelming to say the least. Older individuals that enter treatment have, in many cases, had successful careers and have families of their own. Both of which provide the older adult skills that can make recovery go a little bit smoother, because they have the ability to process what is going on better than a younger adult with very little experience with responsibility and accountability. Such skills can make the transfer from active addiction to recovery much easier. The study conducted concluded that younger addicts gain life skills and confidence through treatment, PsychCentral reports.
Researchers followed 303 young adults, ages 18 to 24, who attended a 12-step-based residential treatment program for alcohol or drug addiction. They measured the levels of change in areas such as:
- coping skills
- psychological distress
- commitment to participating in support groups like 12-Step programs
In almost every case the individuals involved in the study went into treatment with very few coping skills, low self-esteem, and a lack of commitment. After three months of treatment improvement could be seen in every area. Recovery isn’t complete after treatment which is why it is so important that clients pick up the necessary skills in order to continue recovery effectively after treatment and not fall back into the grips of addiction.
“The young people in our study were quite motivated to do well in treatment but lacked the confidence, coping skills and commitment to AA that are critical to longer-term success,” study co-author Valerie Slaymaker, PhD, of The Butler Center for Research at Hazelden, said in a news release. “Treatment appears to work by increasing their confidence and ability to make and sustain healthy, recovery-related efforts.”