At Serenity at Summit treatment centers in New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Massachusetts, behavioral counselors have witnessed an influx of Millennials seeking help for their addictions. Surprisingly, this “entitled” generation of young adults is willing to follow a customized substance abuse treatment plan to cope with drug and alcohol problems, and get on the path to recovery.
“It shouldn’t come as a shock that Millennials are willing to tackle serious problems head on,” said Paul Lavella MA, LPC, LCADC, ACS, Director of Alumni Services at Serenity. “Several studies have found that Millennials seek out self-improvement in larger numbers than any other age demographics.”
“While Millennials - by and large - are thought of as selfish and less willing to think of others when they make decisions, they have some surprising views on success, money and how to deal with substance abuse problems in their lives,” Maria Ulmer MA, LMFT, CAADC Chief Operating Officer added.
They are also lifelong learners. In fact, one study found that 70 percent of Millennials admitted to watching videos on YouTube to learn how to do something new, or to learn about a subject or topic that they found particularly interesting.
That willingness to explore and acquire information is one of the key aspects of substance abuse models in which admitting that one has a problem and identifying solutions to that problem are essential in the recovery process.
But it goes deeper than that. 47 percent of Millennials who took part in the study said that they watched YouTube videos to help improve their health or to feel more positive when they were sad or depressed. This highlights an important aspect of Millennial behavior in general, which is a willingness to remove the stigma of mental health issues and seek help.
“Millennial YouTube stars are encouraging people to speak openly about issues that have traditionally always been hush-hush,” Paul Lavella MA, LPC, LCADC, ACS, Director of Alumni Services continued. “Markiplier has made videos about his battles with depression and bipolar disorder, and John Green has talked freely about his struggles with anxiety.”
45 percent of Millennials in the study said that YouTube influencers like Markiplier and Green have provided inspiration for them to make changes in their own lives.
And these changes may increasingly be triggered by the prescription painkiller epidemic that has swept through the country over the past few years.
“Although multiple studies have found that Millennials consume less alcohol, smoke less marijuana and use less cocaine than other groups, they are front and center when it comes to the opioid crisis,”Maria Ulmer MA, LMFT, CAADC Chief Operating Officer admitted. “Some health care experts believe that Millennials are more likely to view prescription painkillers as medication, and may not ascribe the same level of care when taking these pills that they would if they were injecting heroin or snorting cocaine.”
Despite the grim statistics about opioid overdoses throughout the U.S., the fact that Millennials are more willing to think about and visit drug treatment programs could help slow down the skyrocketing number of overdose-related deaths that has gripped the nation.
Serenity at Summit is an addiction treatment center that offers drug and alcohol medical detox, inpatient treatment in a residential facility, and intensive and non-intensive outpatient treatment for patients who have successfully completed the residential program. Summit’s integrative treatment combines cognitive-behavioral and emotion-based therapy techniques with 12-step facilitation, and relapse prevention.
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