Many wonderful things are found in Orange County, California. White sand beaches, Disneyland Resorts, a giant glowing hermit crab off of the 57, and scripted reality TV shows, to name a few. As magical and tropical as Orange County can seem, it still deals with its own problems. Like many other parts of the country, the rates of alcohol abuse in young adults have steadily risen every single year.
A study done by Orange County Health Care Agency reported high levels of alcohol abuse among young adults and also showed connections of alcohol abuse to specific gender and ethnic backgrounds. In this report, white males showed the highest levels of drug and alcohol abuse in OC, with an estimated 62.3% of ages 18-25 being frequent alcohol users.
Among the salty sea air and joyful squeals on Disney-inspired rides, young adults are struggling more each day to overcome their alcoholism and reintegrate themselves into a healthier society.
Why the increase and high-ranking percentage of users?
With all the available resources that people have today, it’s hard to understand the hike in alcohol abuse, especially within the young adults demographic.
There are a few different reasons that could be actively attributing this rise.
Mental Health Problems.
Depression, anxiety, PTSD or other mental health issues can all increase the risk of alcoholism. Alcohol is a depressant, so when an individual is struggling with mental health issues, it is a natural step to take and turn to drink as a form of relaxation and de-stressor. Many individuals do this without it becoming a problem, but when turning to alcohol is the standard “go-to” solution, this can resort to drinking more and more, which can lead to a dependency.
Alcohol abuse can be passed down from family generations. If you have a relative who is an alcoholic, you have a higher chance of becoming alcohol-dependent at some point in your life. Part of this is due to genetics, but it also has to do with your environment. You are who you spend time with, and if you grew up or live around alcoholism, it can influence you to do the same.
Stressful Environments outside of the Home
Alcohol is a very easy and legal solution to turn to when you want a way to relax. If you have a high-stress job, are dealing with relationship problems or are suddenly faced with life dilemmas, it could be tempting to turn to drink. The costs of education, living expenses and a decline in job opportunities are more apparent in today’s society. This heightens the stress-levels in young adults as they try to get their feet on the ground and begin building their own futures.
How to Know the Difference
While all these factors do not guarantee a person to abuse alcohol, they can be huge contributors to leading someone down a path towards it. The best way to help someone who is struggling with alcoholism is to first, know the signs and symptoms to be on the lookout for.
Common Signs and Symptoms of Alcohol Abuse in Young Adults could be:
- Frequently mentioning alcohol in reference to activities that involve it or joke about needing it to get through class/work/events.
- They’ve tried to stop drinking before and haven’t succeeded.
- Quick changes in mood or emotions.
- Change in habits such as sleep patterns, frequency of missing work or school, and changes in how they eat.
You Are Not Alone: Reach Out for Help and Support
While it’s not a “one size fits all” scenario, if you think a loved one or yourself is spiraling down into alcoholism, it’s never too late to reach out and get the help and support that you need. Orange County Rehabs, like Ocean Hills Recovery, offer a welcoming and supportive 12 step program. They use these all-encompassing and unique services to bring health and stability back into the lives of those suffering from alcohol abuse.
You do not have to go through this alone. Reach out and get the help you deserve and you can get back the life you want to live.
About the author:
Nicole earned her doctoral degree in Psychology with an emphasis on marriage and family therapy at California School of Professional Psychology. Her doctoral thesis was a grounded theory study exploring the role of alienation and connectedness in the life course of addiction. She specializes in treating addiction and trauma. She is certified in DBT and EMDR, two of the most highly regarded evidence-based methods in psychotherapy. Dr. Doss is a strong LGBT advocate and provides open and affirming support to her LGBT clients.
Dr. Doss’s earlier education included graduating cum laude from the University of California, Irvine in June of 2007 with a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology. While there, she received honors recognition by Psi Chi and Golden Key honor societies.
Nicole has been working with alcoholics and addicts in our California drug and alcohol rehab center as an advisor and counselor for many years. She is passionate about providing quality counseling and care to her clients. Her main focus is on integrating the 12 Step and disease models of addiction with experiential therapeutic theory. She is married to Greg; they have two adorable sons together and an energetic yellow Labrador Retriever.