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Can “Failure to Launch” Set One Up for Addiction?

Young people are one of the largest groups that are seeking drug and alcohol addiction treatment. There appears to be an increase in young people who are seeking addiction help also suffering from “failure to launch” syndrome. Can there be a correlation between failure to launch and addiction? Is feeling like they’re not succeeding causing young people to turn to drugs and alcohol as a means of coping with the feeling of failure? 

What is Failure to Launch Syndrome?

The hardships of transitioning from adolescence to adulthood for modern young adults is often referred to as “failure to launch”. At this pivotal point in a young adult’s life they should be gaining independence, and learning to live independently without their parents’ help. Oftentimes with failure to launch, however, these transitioning young adults are found to still be living with their parents and financially dependent upon them. 

At this point someone can wonder who generally suffers from failure to launch. Those young adults who did not attend college, or flunked out can experience signs of this syndrome. They can be unemployed or too financially insecure to be able to survive the world without their parents’ assistance. Having to rely so heavily on assistance from their parents can sometimes make someone more motivated to become successful. However, those who have failure to launch syndrome lack the motivation required to push themselves to becoming more successful and therefore less dependent on their parents. 

Signs of Failure to Launch Syndrome

There are signs that can be seen in people that can be indicative of suffering from failure to launch syndrome. Lack of motivation and goal setting can be major indicators. Other symptoms that can be associated with failure to launch include:

  • Lack of purpose in life
  • Being withdrawn
  • Seeing no vision for the future
  • Fear of taking chances
  • Minimal financial contribution
  • Lacking emotional contribution to family and friends
  • Difficulty managing reactions to stress and frustration
  • Little to no desire for independence
  • Substance abuse (opioids, alcohol, and marijuana)

There are ways parents can try and encourage their children to strive for a better life for themselves. Parents tend to want to provide for their children until they can provide for themselves, try to refrain from doing this. Having the safety net of being taken care of, cooked for, cleaned up after, and provided for can enable failure to launch. Allowing children to problem solve on their own is also an option to making them begin to care for themselves. Expecting contributions to the household from them, making them become more financially independent by not paying their bills, and learning to say no can also all be ways to end enabling.

Can Failure to Launch Set One Up for Addiction?

Failure to launch and addiction can affect one another. Being unable to become successful during the early adulthood years when those around you have reached their own levels of success can cause someone to feel like they are failing at this thing called life. This isn’t always the case, not everyone’s trajectory in life is linear. 

The feelings of failure or worthlessness combined with the isolation associated with failure to launch can cause someone to turn to drugs and alcohol. This can be a way of self-medicating to mask the feelings and get some relief. Throughout childhood, most people cannot wait to reach the legal age of adulthood to gain independence. But when that independence feels out of reach, it can intensify the symptoms of failure to launch and addiction can be a consequence of turning to substances as a means of coping. This inevitably leads to the need for drug detox.

Having coexisting mental health concerns with failure to launch syndrome can also be a risk factor for abusing drugs and alcohol. When someone suffers failure to launch, conditions like depression and anxiety flourish. It is often seen in people who struggle with mental health to also suffer with substance abuse issues. Untreated mental health concerns can make failure to launch and addiction symptoms more prevalent. Some mental health concerns can exacerbate failure to launch and addiction can include conditions such as: 

  • Anxiety 
  • Depression
  • Learning disabilities
  • Mood disorders
  • Gaming addictions
  • Personality disorders

Leaving these conditions untreated can be detrimental to anyone. In conclusion, factoring in failure to launch syndrome presents an even more detrimental risk of addiction.

Find Addiction and Mental Health Treatment in Columbus, OH

Mental health and addiction can go hand in hand, and receiving treatment can be beneficial to anyone struggling with one or both of these disorders. Ohio Addiction Recovery Center has a Life Skills Addiction Therapy program. Our professionals assist people in leading a successful life after treatment for mental health and addiction. Contact us today and begin your journey into a life of recovery.

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