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Common Misconceptions about Addiction and Mental Health in Young Adults

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Being a young adult isn’t easy. Late teens to early twenties mark a stage in life when many people struggle with developing a healthy sense of worth in a world that feels like it is constantly changing. On top of that, young adults have to deal with pressures from external sources such as their parents, school, work, and even social media. Sadly, it’s common for young adults to turn to substances as a way to cope. Substance abuse, addiction, and mental health disorders can affect people in so many ways, ranging from inability to function and lack of enthusiasm about life to diminished relationships and negative self-image.

Even though addiction and mental health conditions are common, there is still a lot of social stigma surrounding these topics, which brings about many misconceptions. The following four common misconceptions about mental health and addiction in young adults can help our readers participate in breaking the stigma.

Addiction and mental health are two very different things

The reality is that mental health conditions often result in substance use problems and vice versa. According to a study, 82% of teenagers who entered an inpatient treatment program for a substance use disorder met the criteria for a psychiatric disorder. For instance,  teens who are feeling depressed might turn to a drug like marijuana to numb themselves. Similarly, drug use can trigger symptoms of schizophrenia or cause dormant schizophrenia to emerge later on in life. Both disorders can significantly influence each other and make them even worse, resulting in a dangerous cycle.

Since symptoms can overlap, it is crucial to evaluate and treat both issues at the same time – in what is known as co-occurring or dual diagnosis treatment. Failing to treat both conditions together can make recovery much more difficult since only half of the problem is addressed. This is why it’s essential to find a treatment program that not only treats but actually understands co-occurring disorders.

It’s fine to use marijuana as a teenager

The use of marijuana among teens is much more common these days than it ever used to be. So much so that teens have a higher chance of smoking marijuana than cigarettes. Despite what many people believe about pot being non-addictive or relatively harmless since it is a plant, the fact is that it can still have a severe impact on an adolescent’s thinking abilities, emotional regulation, and overall health. In addition, studies suggest that marijuana can act as a gateway drug. Even though marijuana is legal in many places nowadays, it stills remains illegal for minors.

Since teenagers believe that pot is not a big deal, it’s vital to educate them on the risks and discuss marijuana use early and frequently. It’s also worth noting that marijuana is much more potent and less pure than before, making the “natural” argument invalid. What’s more, marijuana raises a cause for concern since the extent of the health risks is not yet completely understood.

Teenagers will snap out of depression

Depression is much more than simply feeling sad. It is a mental health condition that affects the way a person thinks, feels, and behaves. Depression causes persistent emotional numbness and interferes with a person’s ability to live a normal life, making it especially concerning in young adults. While levels of severity vary, symptoms of depression typically include loss of interest in regular activities, feelings of worthlessness or hopelessness, and reckless behavior.

People with depression are known to engage in substance abuse and other escapist behavior. Fortunately, depression can be treated, and many young adults who have dealt with depression in the past have successfully recovered and continue to live happy lives.

Only crazy people go to rehab

The misconception that young adults with addiction and mental health issues are crazy, weak, or flawed in any way is a reflection of society’s skewed perspective. Despite what people may say, admitting you have a problem and seeking treatment is far from a sign of weakness. It’s an important first step in regaining control of your life. It can be overwhelming for teens or young adults to admit that they need help, but it is pivotal to finding long-lasting change, developing coping skills, and facing challenges with confidence.

Discussing the above misconceptions with your family, friends, and colleagues is a great way to start shattering the stigma surrounding addiction and mental health, creating a safer space for young adults to speak up and ask for help when they need it.

If you or someone you know experiences mental health issues, it is important to seek help from a qualified professional. Our Resource Specialist can help you find expert mental health resources to recover in your community. Contact us now for more information on this free service to our users.

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About the Author: Jantra Jacobs is a writer for Thailand Rehab Guide, a one-stop source for addiction treatment, mental health treatment, and rehab options in Thailand. Jantra and the team at Thailand Rehab Guide provide informed guidance so people struggling with mental health and/or addiction can find the right help they need.

Photo by Grav on Unsplash

The opinions and views expressed in any guest blog post do not necessarily reflect those of www.rtor.org or its sponsor, Laurel House, Inc. The author and www.rtor.org have no affiliations with any products or services mentioned in the article or linked to therein. Guest Authors may have affiliations to products mentioned or linked to in their author bios only.

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