Navigating Mental Health Challenges: Young Adult substance use and depression

Stepping into adulthood entails profound changes – from transitioning to diverse educational settings and environments, forging new friendships, securing initial employment, to shouldering heightened responsibilities and beyond. Amidst these substantial shifts, many young adults find themselves grappling with novel emotions, striving to navigate the intricate landscape of this transformative journey.

Millions of young adults grapple with mental or substance use disorders, often without realizing it. Unfortunately, a significant number of young adults either ignore the signs or avoid seeking help altogether. In 2018, out of the 8.9 million young adults facing mental illness, more than 2 in 5 went untreated. Additionally, of the 5.1 million with a substance use disorder, nearly 9 in 10 did not receive treatment.

It's crucial to understand that asking for help is a normal part of life. You should never feel the need to face the challenges alone. If you suspect that you or someone you know is struggling with excessive drinking, drug use, or mental health issues, there are resources available to lend support.

Decoding "Depression" with Healthcare Professionals

The term "depression" can be perplexing to hear from a doctor or other healthcare professional. The silver lining is that the emotions and behaviors causing concern are symptoms of a treatable disorder. Seeking treatment and embarking on the path to recovery allows individuals with depression to manage their symptoms, feel better, and lead fulfilling lives. Recovery isn't necessarily a cure, but rather an active journey toward wellness.

It's essential to engage in open conversations with healthcare providers to explore treatment options. Your provider could be a child and adolescent psychiatrist, general psychiatrist, psychologist, pediatrician, social worker, or another healthcare professional. If you suspect depression, a thorough evaluation is crucial, involving discussions about your symptoms, various tests, and ensuring there are no underlying medical conditions exacerbating the symptoms. It's also vital to assess your tolerance to any recommended medication as part of the treatment plan.

Understanding "Recovery"

Recovery is a transformative process where individuals enhance their health, embrace a self-directed life, and strive to reach their full potential. It focuses on wellness and resilience, urging people to actively participate in their own care.

Depression manifests as persistent feelings of sadness, emptiness, helplessness, or hopelessness that linger for at least two weeks. While occasional sadness or anxiety is normal, the intensity and duration of depression surpass the typical ups and downs of daily life. These feelings often disrupt daily activities with family, school, work, or social situations. Sometimes, irritability creeps in, accompanied by physical symptoms like fatigue, sleep disturbances, and weight changes. Depression may also trigger hopelessness, guilt, and even suicidal thoughts.

Diagnoses range from major depression (mild, moderate, or severe) to persistent depression. An individualized treatment program, incorporating medications and other elements, aids in building resilience, managing symptoms, improving everyday functioning, and achieving personal goals. Positive family or peer support can be integral to this journey.

Remember, reaching out for help is a strength, not a weakness. In the pursuit of mental wellness, you're not alone—there's a community and resources ready to guide you toward a brighter future.

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Blue Ridge's program for Young Adults: Emerald Arrow

Located in the gorgeous Nantahala National Forest in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina, our young adult program Emerald Arrow combines in-depth clinical insight and comprehensive assessment with creativity, adventure-based interventions and purpose-driven experiences to produce a unique nature-based treatment experience for each student.

In our program, you will engage in outdoor adventures, leadership development opportunities, and individualized therapy in the wilderness setting as you blaze your own unique trail towards your personal values and goals.

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