The bitter truth about millennials and alcohol abuse

The bitter truth about millennials and alcohol abuse

The term “millennials” typically refers to individuals who have come of age in the 21st century. There is a divergence among various schools of thought regarding the earliest and latest years during which millennials can be considered to have been born. Demographers Neil Howe and William Strauss define millennials to include those individuals who were born between 1982 and 2004. This is important in the context of various social, economic and cultural influences which have shaped millennials.

Millennials are accused of being narcissists and a generation with a large sense of entitlement. They grew up during a time when internet and social media were revolutionizing everyone’s lives. However, millennials have also faced significant challenges such as economic recession, rising college education costs, higher unemployment, the 9/11 terrorist attack and ensuing wars, and socio-economic unrest leading to movements such as “Black Lives Matter” and “Occupy Wall Street.”

An often overlooked fact regarding millennials is the high levels of stress experienced by them. The annual Stress in America survey by the American Psychological Association (APA), published in February 2017, shows that millennials report higher stress levels than any other generation. They worry about the negative physical and mental health impacts of social media and technology. There is also a higher likelihood within millennials to feel that their stress has increased during the past year, leading to feelings of loneliness and isolation. Although increased stress does not automatically lead to increased substance abuse, millennials have a higher likelihood of consuming alcohol to cope with stress.

Binge drinking and alcoholism

As per the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA), over 31 percent of alcohol users in the U.S. are young adults. Early onset of alcohol use is considered to be a significant risk factor for alcoholism in young adults. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), young adults between 18 and 34 years are more disposed to indulge in binge drinking. Overall, instances of heavy drinking have increased by 17.2 percent in some parts of the United States.

Youngsters may binge drink simply as part of the college experience, or in social gatherings with friends. It is likely that the majority may be using alcohol as a coping mechanism to overcome symptoms of mental health disorders such as depression, anxiety and mood fluctuations. Consuming alcohol is an escape route for coping with depressive symptoms. Millennials are still reeling under the impact of a sluggish economy, scarcity of jobs and rising medical costs, all of which contribute to stress and consequently, alcoholism.

Disregarding challenges may aid alcoholism

Heavy drinking habits are usually adopted during college days, and such behavior persists even after graduating. The patterns of drinking and subsequent alcoholism among millennials necessitate the need for early preventive measures. A strong support system comprising empathetic community and family members, well-informed social contacts and availability of effective treatment options will eliminate the risk of alcoholism. Although millennials are considered an entitled generation, the challenges faced by them cannot be disregarded. Doing so will only increase the level of alcoholism.

If you or a loved one is trying to recover from alcohol addiction, contact the Alcohol Addiction Helpline of California for evidence-based programs offered in the alcohol addiction treatment centers in California. Call our 24/7 helpline number 855-980-1715 or chat online for further information on the finest inpatient alcohol rehab centers in California.

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