Young Adults: Relationships and Health (cont.)

Moderator: What are some effective ways to control addiction amongst young adults?

Dr. Drew: Well, again, you're talking about addiction and not abuse, which is a different process. Addiction is a separate topic, not everyone can become an addict, not everyone has the genetic makeup for it ... if after surgery, I string you out on morphine, you become addicted and then I stop you and you never think about it again. If you have a propensity for it, you be come addicted once you are exposed to the opiate. How do you stop this? Well, decrease the exposure. The fundamental reason that the person uses is to regulate feelings, they grow up not being able to do this, and drugs are touted as "the answer." In Children's Hospital of Los Angeles, they said the things that we see as their problems, we see as their solutions. I think we need to have zero tolerance is the only answer in all houses and campuses, and I think that includes alcohol. I was at the U of Iowa, and it was a wet campus, and a few died and they converted to a dry campus and the kids were appreciative! It was amazing! In my day it would have been perceived as controlling and intrusive. Maybe it was different, they were trying to cast off over-parenting, now they're trying to find the parenting, the limits and structure and they're somewhat relieved when they get it.

Moderator: What socio-economic factors contribute to the overall health of a young adult's relationships?

Dr. Drew: I'm not sure I understand that question. It comes to bear on all aspects of health. Let me just tell you in broadest strokes, not based on data, but my experience, that is that I go speak in high schools and colleges every week for years, and I'm impressed by what I see in high schools, particularly in private high schools, where it appears that the empowerment of the students and the relationships with parents and teachers is resulting in something good. But, there is a large segment of the population that is not being parented well, and that population is falling out of bed, and whether that risk will result in anything, I don't know. But, the dichotomy is palpable and has been developing in the last five years particularly.

Moderator: Are there health issues a young adult woman should be particularly concerned about? How about a young man?

Dr. Drew: Well, I can tell you what they're asking about. They're not so focused on health as much as relationships. In fact, we went out and did study groups on young people and asked them where they got their health information. And, about 50% of them asked "why would I want information on health? That's the body breaking down. I don't have those problems." Yet when you ask them about drugs or cigarettes or depression, they say 'oh yeah!' So, they don't perceive these things as health. So, the males are wondering 'am I adequate?' And, unfortunately, the women are concerned about the men, too! "How can he be that way? Why is he doing this?" It's very different between the males and females, and there's very little information out there to help the women cope with this. We are very different! And, we need to empower the women, and it's all backwards. Women are concerned with how to get a guy and keep them, as opposed to what are my concerns, what do I want and need before we go on with this.

AWaldo_WebMD My girl friend is 8 months pregnant, and I am not ready to be a father. She is 17, I'm 20. She is also strongly pushing for marriage, which I am not ready for. Also, she is willing to raise this child on her own if I were to decide to leave. I did try to convince her that adoption would be best, but she would not hear of it. I could not allow her to try to do this on her own, so I have stayed around, but this is really not what I am ready to do in this point of my life

Dr. Drew: Well, you need to do what's right. Not to sound harsh, but this is the consequence of your behavior, and you must live up to that, which means taking care of the child. God knows you don't have to get married. But, the child has a way of taking care of affects, too. So, at least this young man knows he's not ready for either, but he may be stuck living up to one, which is the rearing of the child. There should be a lot more support given to adoption in this society. There are a lot of people out there that would make great parents and we should be giving medals to women who elect to go through the discomfort and pain of giving up a child to take care of the child's needs. God knows this is not someone who is ready to take care of a family.

Moderator: How have recent instances of violence in American schools affected the collective psyche of our youth?

Dr. Drew: I don't know the answer to that. I know that young people feel highly scrutinized and sort of blamed for the violence. I think it's been absorbed into the fabric that's already there. But, it has been for quite some time, not because of isolated outbreaks, but in those kids that have to walk through metal detectors everyday, and be careful walking down the street, or who are afraid to walk down the streets. Those are the kids with whom this should be discussed.

Moderator: Has the overall maturity level of young adults changed much over the years?

Dr. Drew: All I can tell you is that the whole period of adolescence evolved over the last 100 years, and has become institutionalized over the last 30 -- now it's become a market and people study it!So, it's well-entrenched in the development of a human, I don't know that it's changed that much.

Moderator: Do you think that legitimate psychological concerns in young adults can be overlooked, or effectively written off as "teen angst"?

Dr. Drew: No, I don't think they should be at all. If there's any advance we've made in the last 20 years, we've understood more fully the developmental needs of the age group, the depression, the probability of accidents, and suicides, they are at higher risk for these things and don't all need to be treated, but they need to be evaluated as if they are important medical concerns. The choices and experiences and unhealthy behaviors that manifest during that period affect and set the stage for the rest of their life! It may affect your brain function or health status if you expose yourself to X and LSD. It's exquisitely sensitive (the brain) to traumatizing experiences and exposing yourself to chemicals or engaging in sex too early. These things need to be addressed early.

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