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Drug and alcohol addiction can hit vulnerable young people at a time of intense change and stress. But how it’s managed can make all the difference.

Carter Hines began abusing drugs at 16, an addiction that resulted in quickly dropping out of college, entering the hospital twice and using heroin by age 21. “I was just trying to coop all these feelings up,” he recalls. Then in 2016, Hines checked into Skywood Recovery Center in Augusta, Michigan, for a 30-day treatment program.

For many like Hines, young adulthood can be stressful. New environments, high pressure and a culture of drinking and drugs can drive young people to develop unsafe drug and alcohol habits. What starts out as a coping mechanism has the potential to develop into a substance use disorder.

More than 26 percent of Americans over age 18 engaged in binge drinking in the past month, according to a 2015 study cited by both the National Institute on Drug Abuse and the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. In many cases, collegiate recovery groups or other programs aimed at young adults step in to treat the unique challenges of this age group.

Treating vulnerable populations

“Addiction can begin as an attempt to fit in or cope with stressors or mental health symptoms,” explains Lori Ryland, CEO of Skywood Recovery Center. “Without appropriate assessment and treatment, the prognosis is poor for developing strategies to manage life free of substances.”

Skywood’s professionals treat not only the chemical addiction but also any underlying trauma or mental health issues. “Assessing the conditions of mental health and the addictive disorder determines the method of care,” Ryland clarifies.

The right kind of help

For Hines, and many other young adults between the ages of 18 and 25, comprehensive approaches like Skywood’s often work best by addressing and treating the underlying roots of addiction.

“They gave me confidence that I can do this,” Hines says of his time at the center. “They would bring people in — people living in sobriety — and would give us insight on what’s to come and what we could be doing.”

For people battling addiction like Hines, recovery centers have a wide range of resources available, which makes them a great first stop in the fight for recovery.

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