The opioid epidemic is notorious for not discriminating. Opiate addiction has impacted individuals, families and communities from all regions of the country, all economic statuses and all age groups. However, one group hit especially hard by addiction, alcoholism and suicide is Millennials—those born between 1981 and 1996. A recent report co-authored by Trust for America’s Health, and Well Being Trust revealed that between 2007 and 2017, deaths of those aged 18 to 34 involving drugs, alcohol and suicide — known as “deaths of despair” — rose 108, 69 and 35 percent respectively. Between 1999 and 2017, deaths by opioids for the same age range has increased by 500 percent.
Millennials' Unique Challenges
The report recognizes that Millennials face a unique set of challenges that previous generations have not faced, including “the opioid crisis, the skyrocketing cost of education and housing, and entering the job market during the great recession.” Additional studies reveal that social media and electronic device addiction exacerbate stress and anxiety for young adults. The addictive nature of the social media apps can lead to emotional distress, especially for users who frequently compare themselves to other social media users they perceive to be better than them — physically, financially, socially. Millennials are also less likely than older generations to be married and make up the largest number of single mother households. Many Millennials are also less likely, when compared to their grandparents generation, to affiliate with other societal institutions such as political parties or places of worship, leaving Millennials without another source of support.
Addiction to drugs and alcohol and the depressive states of mind that lead one to commit suicide are often caused or made worse by isolation. The setbacks faced by Millennials — debt that seems insurmountable, being overqualified and underemployed — can feel isolating. It might feel like you’ve been blamed for you situation and left alone to deal with the consequences, when many societal factors outside of your control created these circumstances. If you’re prone to depression and suicidal ideation, drinking and drugging can make these conditions worse. If you feel let down, beat up or exhausted and have turned to drinking and drugging for a release, you are not alone. The only way to recover is to ask for help. In treatment at Amatus Recovery Centers, you’ll learn to free yourself from your addiction and implement healthy coping skills to lay the groundwork for the life you’ve always wanted.