Millennials are known for their modern understanding and use of technology, centering their lives around family and hopping from job to job every few years. Not every person who fits into the millennial age range fits the stereotypes, the commonalities shared among them can help inform us on important issues.
Substance use is one such issue. A person of any age can develop a substance use disorder, but millennials are more at risk than some other groups for the development of an addiction and face unique risk factors for substance use. Here’s what you’ll want to know:

Millennial age range

Before discussing millennials in depth, it’s worthwhile to look at who is included in this social category. The division between millennials and Gen Z (who are younger) and Gen X (who are older) is distinguished by age, although those who are born close to the bookends of the millennial age range may display characteristics common to Gen Z and Gen X as well.
The commonly accepted millennial age range is those who are born between the years of 1981 and 1996, meaning those individuals are now in their late 20s to early 40s. Like with each age group, every life stage brings unique challenges and triggers to the development of a substance use addiction.

Millennial statistics for addiction

Millennials are at a high risk for substance use. However, they are not as vulnerable as the age group just below them. According to the National Center for Drug Abuse Statistics, the age group most likely to use drugs are those between the ages of 18 and 25, at 39 percent. A close 34 percent of millennials use drugs. 

Reason for millennial drug addiction

There are many risk factors for substance use disorder that are highlighted during the period of young adulthood into mid-life. These individuals are often in a time of transition, moving away from home, marrying, changing jobs or career fields and facing new financial concerns.
While millennials may not face the same type of peer pressure as the younger generation or the chronic pain that plagues older generations, various circumstantial events may make substance dependency more common during this phase of life. Here are the most common risk factors for substance use disorder among millennials.

Financial stress

According to the journal Annals of the New York Academy of the Sciences, stress is a well-documented trigger to addiction and relapse. Financial stress is a serious concern for many millennials, and for good reason. This period of young adulthood into your 40s is brings up college debt, renting or purchasing a home, saving for retirement, childcare expenses, medical bills and more.
Financial stress could build up to the development of an addiction. Many people use drugs or alcohol to numb the pressure of managing their money.

Job transitions

Millennials are well-known for their desire to attain career success, and demonstrate less loyalty to their companies than previous generations. Many millennials transition jobs easily, and may do so numerous times even within a decade. Millennials are often at the stage of life to decide if one parent would prefer to stay at home full-time.
Any of these transitions could be risk factors for substance use, especially if someone presents with other vulnerabilities to addiction, such as poor coping or working long hours.

Changes in family structure

The ages between 25 and 45 come with significant changes in family structure. While many millennials now delay marriage and have fewer kids, this transition almost always occurs during this phase of life. Despite the joys big family changes make, there is also difficulty even in the happiest of household.
Challenges often faced during this time include moving in with a spouse, dealing with in-laws and relatives, struggling with fertility, embracing the lifestyle changes that come with children, managing family finances and, having elderly parents to take care of or experiencing the death of a parent.

Fewer social connections and emotional support

Millennials take pride in independence, often moving to a different state than their family’s roots or seeking a field of employment that breaks away from traditions of generations past. This independence has pros and cons, and one of the downfalls of this individualistic mindset is that it often results in unintentional social isolation.
Millennials are at an increased risk for substance use, partially due to a decreased emphasis on community, and therefore emotional support. One of the best protective factors against substance use is close ties with family and friends who live nearby, as this can offer ample support in hard times.

Mental Health

Mental health is another significant risk factor that affects millennials statistics in regards to drug use. The Blue Cross Blue Shield Association found that millennial mental health is in decline. Their data showed a 12 percent increase in depression, a seven percent increase in alcohol use disorder and a five percent increase in substance use disorder. 
There is a strong link between mental health and substance use, and an increased risk for one means an increased risk for the other.
Getting personalized care
Millennials face serious threats to their wellbeing and potential triggers to substance use. While each age brings its own challenges, when you’re seeking treatment for substance use it can make a difference to know you’re getting personalized care instead of a one-size-fits-all type of treatment.
Silvermist Recovery offers evidence-based treatment catered to your unique needs and preferences. You’ll find modern treatment modalities and comfortable facilities that provide a holistic foundation for your healing. Call today to learn more.