What Is A Young Professional?

In the United States, a young professional is someone in their 20s and 30s. They typically are beginning their careers and are employed in a white-collar occupation. In the US labor force, over 56,000,000 people contribute to this demographic. As they pursue promotions and overall acknowledgment for their efforts, they face several hurdles — like a vulnerability to addiction.

Young Professionals And Addiction

When compared to other white-collar workers, young professionals run a much higher risk of developing a substance use disorder (SUD). There are several significant contributors to this phenomena, like young professionals’ age group and health, but there is no one clear answer as to why this is so. Below are a few possible reasons why so many young professionals are in danger of developing an SUD.

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Age Group

In 2021, the young professional demographic predominantly consisted of millennials and some members of Gen Z. Unfortunately, millennials are more likely to develop an SUD than members of Gen X or baby boomers. In the past decade, addiction rates among 25 to 40-year-olds have soared. From 2006 to 2015, drug-related deaths in this generation rose by 108%.

Though Gen Z comprises only a small percentage of the young professional workforce, they have a high risk of addiction. Zoomers have many mental health concerns to deal with. Research has discovered the generation is clinically depressed, social media-crazed, and unbelievably stressed.

Social Media

Young professionals are among the leading users of social networks. Over 80% of adults between the ages of 22 and 40 use a social platform daily. Whether they’re using LinkedIn, Instagram, or Facebook, many are relying on these sites to share their ideas, network, and find new jobs. Though social media has positive attributes, it also has plenty of negative ones.

The damaging mental and physical effects of social media are no secret. The more individuals use social networking platforms, the more likely they are to experience psychological and physical disorders like addiction. According to a Harvard University study, sharing personal information like promotions, thoughts, or experiences on social platforms triggers a portion of the brain associated with addiction. Several other studies have also found a connection between anxiety, addiction, and social media. Social media is also proven to expose users to high rates of stimuli that encourage drug use.

Saturated Job Market

The new generation of professionals is the most educated demographic in history. Still, they are dealing with one of the most saturated job markets in history. To stand out and secure their careers they have to work harder, be extra strategic, and be more intentional than previous generations. Still, even if they do manage to land a position, they are severely underpaid and overworked. From 2005 to 2017, the average millennial lost about 13% of their earnings. The high level of competition and financial insecurity is a great source of stress for young professionals. The phenomenon is linked with health issues like depression and anxiety. To cope, many turn to drugs and alcohol.

Unaffordable Health Care

Blue Cross Blue Shield data predict millennials and zoomers will be some of the unhealthiest generations ever. According to the research, over 30% of the members of both age groups have health conditions that increase their mortality rate by 40%. Unfortunately, a lack of financial security and a saturated job market can make it harder for young professionals to secure health insurance. The lack of treatment and help from medical professionals for these young adults is expected to expand health care costs by more than 33%. In turn, this reduces their chances of receiving treatment for disorders like addiction.

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The Future Of Young Professionals And The Rise In Addiction

Given that young professionals are battling financial insecurity, a saturated job market, and unaffordable health care, it is no surprise that they are also struggling with addiction. The lack of support, high levels of pressure, and intense competition among this demographic are making young professionals prone to alcohol and drug abuse. Still, not all hope is lost. There is help available for anyone battling alcohol or drug addiction.

If you or a loved one is struggling with an addiction, reach out for help. Contact a treatment provider today to discuss available treatment and rehab options.