01 Oct Emotional Immaturity vs. Substance Abuse
Forty is the new 30 and 30 is the new 20. This is the sign of the times which marks our desire to stay young forever and also reflects an overall slower emotional growth (emotional immaturity) for multiple generations. Since it’s becoming more socially acceptable to be living in one’s “extended adolescence,” how can parents tell if their grown “kidults” are just taking a little more time to grow up or if it’s an indication of stunted emotional growth caused by drug addiction?
How well do you know your son or daughter?
It’s the norm for us to let our overwhelmingly busy schedules run us into the ground, but if we allow work and other distractions to replace quality time with our families, we run the risk of overlooking details that could clue us in on some problems. Does your son or daughter call you at least once a week to chat? Do you check in on them to see how they’re doing? How open is your relationship with your grown children?
How well do you know your adult children’s friends?
This is huge. You are who you hang out with, and if your son or daughter is using drugs, this impacts whom they hang out with and what they’re doing with their lives. Have your grown children ever introduced you to their friends? Do you have at least one phone number of their best friend? Do your son’s friends have goals to complete college and are they ambitious with their careers? Do they demonstrate educational and livelihood pursuits with their lives? Is your daughter dating a quality man or do you question her choices in men?
Poor performance vs. drop in performance
It’s one thing if your son or daughter has always had trouble with their academic performance since grade school, but if you know what your children are capable of and their performance at work or in college drops considerably, this could be a sign of drug use. In one case study, about 70% of drug users showed signs of neurological deterioration. Although various drugs may affect the brain differently, the overall impact on decision-making skills, judgment and other executive functions is associated with decline in function due to brain damage caused by use and abuse of substances. Have their spouses or significant others contacted you due to concern about their declining performance such as suspension from work, outbursts of anger at home, tickets for driving under the influence, or other unusual signs that are uncharacteristic of your loved one’s personality?
Peter Pan’s Syndrome vs. Addictive Personality
The Peter Pan Syndrome is a term coined for individuals who don’t want to grow up because they don’t want to assume responsibilities of adulthood. Outside of drug use, this syndrome could be caused by overprotective parents, a narcissistic personality or other social and environmental influences. Drug use could exacerbate existing risk factors as well as lead to emotional and mental disorders, such as anxiety, depression, and paranoia. Emotional immaturity may be characteristic of today’s “kidults,” but if you notice abnormal thought patterns or mood swings, it could mean something more serious than just hanging on to one’s youth.
Are you a concerned that your adult children have emotional immaturity?
At this point, your son or daughter is probably living on their own or with their own family. Detecting signs of abuse and emotional immaturity would require the help of friends and relatives who interact with them on a more consistent basis if you are not close to them, geographically or emotionally. However, if you are close to your children and you detect these signs yourself, trust your gut instinct! The sooner you seek intervention, the better your chances are of saving your loved ones from a continual downward spiral, which would be heartbreaking for any parent to watch. New Method Wellness, one of the nation’s best centers for alcohol and drug addiction treatment, offers a wide range of holistic therapies, including equine therapy, surf therapy, nutritional counseling, yoga, massage and more.
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