- Are you between 18-25(+) years old and feel unsure about the direction your life is headed?
- Do you have difficulty maintaining healthy relationships? Perhaps you feel lonely, as if you don’t belong or might be missing out?
- Do you often procrastinate on obligations or decisions or have trouble motivating yourself to get things done?
- Are you developing self-destructive behaviors (e.g., overeating, excessive drinking, reckless spending) as a way to cope with stress?
The college-aged years are sometimes referred to as “the best years of your life,” but in reality, the transition from adolescence to adulthood can be quite challenging. In a Buzzfeed article, Jessica Misener may have put it best: childhood is like a paint-by-numbers art activity while young adulthood is a blank canvas. The guidance and structure afforded in youth dissolves with age and instead of coloring within the lines provided, young adults must create their own path for independence, financial stability, work or school achievement, and interpersonal relationships. During this time it is not uncommon for 18-25(+) year olds to feel confused, overwhelmed, and emotionally stuck.
Young Adult Adjustment Issues are Common
Although social media posts may suggest that everyone is excelling in their twenties, the truth is that many young adults struggle to some degree during this period of their lives. It makes sense that young adulthood can be full of mental and emotional unrest. Neuroscience tells us that activity in the prefrontal cortex, a brain region responsible for decision making, future planning and emotional regulation, peaks during this transitional time when options and expectations abound.
Many young adults struggle with one or more of the following:
- Finances: The “real world” is expensive. After rent, utilities, groceries, gas, phone bills, and car payments (and perhaps health insurance and student loans), many young adults are left with little to no monetary wiggle room. Establishing financial independence and stability is undoubtedly stressful for young people.
- School and/or Work: School and work are quite demanding on their own and in many cases, young adults juggle both. When obligations at work and/or school increase, sleep and wellbeing often take the backseat while tension, anxiety and exhaustion settle in. Staying afloat in the academic and/or work arena is particularly challenging for young adults that have difficulty focusing or ADHD.
- Relationships: Young adulthood is often a pivotal time for relationships. Friendships from adolescence may dissolve and new connections may grow. Familial ties may be tested or strengthened. Dating, intimate relationships and breakups can be an emotional roller coaster. Young adults often desire a sense of community and belonging but striking a social balance that is fulfilling and worthwhile can be a challenge.
- Indecision/Uncertainty: In a society that increasingly delays the traditional milestones of “adulthood,” such as career, marriage and family, many young adults feel stuck treading water in a sea of other options. Apply for a four-year degree, two year degree, the workforce or military? Accept an internship, study abroad or take a gap year? Continue to wait tables to save money or pursue a more fulfilling profession? On top of immediate academic, work, social and/or financial stress, many young adults also battle such insecurities about the future, agonizing about potential outcomes and worrying about a life in “limbo.”
- Mental Health Issues: Many mental health issues emerge in young adulthood. It is thought that at least one in five 18-25 year-olds struggle with a mental health disorder (anxiety, depression, ADHD, bipolar disorder, eating disorder, etc.). Unfortunately, young adults are more likely than older adults to self-medicate with alcohol and drugs, while being less likely to seek mental health help. This trend is alarming, and potentially costly, since early detection and intervention is key to preventing mental illnesses from persisting and worsening later in life.
Young Adults with Adjustment Issues Need Support.
If you are a young adult struggling with adjustment issues, the clinicians at Orenstein Solutions can provide you with the support and tools you need to thrive in your young adult years. Through counseling sessions, our counselors can help you sort through your options, set meaningful goals and navigate stressors along the way so that the intimidating blank canvas of adulthood is better structured, more manageable and even exciting.
In counseling for young adult adjustment issues, we focus on maximizing three vital components to happiness and success for young adults: confidence, competence and connections.
- To create sustainable confidence, we work with you to uncover and overcome insecurities that may contribute to self-doubt and procrastination on important issues and decisions. With greater confidence, you can take self-compassionate and self-reliant steps forward in your life.
- To construct competence, we help you identify areas of skill-based weakness and work with you to turn those into strengths that propel you up rather than weigh you down. When strong time management skills, study skills, problem solving skills, emotion regulation and money management skills are in place, stress decreases and the opportunities for success increase.
- Finally, to develop connections, we examine your interpersonal styles to ensure that your relationships with roommates, friends, family and significant others enhance, rather than deflate, your energy and happiness.
With commitment to implementing positive change, many young adults notice improvements after just a few sessions of counseling and oftentimes, therapy for young adult adjustment issues is short term. In other cases, longer-term support is needed to get through rough patches. Our caring therapists are happy to meet you at the level of care you need and are dedicated to help you improve your quality of life and build skills that will sustain you into adulthood.
But you still may have questions or concerns…
Counseling for young adult adjustment issues isn’t cheap. I’m not sure it’s worthwhile. Plus, between work and class I have very limited availability. How can I find time for therapy?
It’s true that counseling for young adult adjustment issues is an investment. However, self-doubt, anxiety, depression, stress and perhaps substance abuse due to young adult adjustment issues can impact your productivity at work or school, your relationships with friends and family and even important decisions about your future. By investing in yourself now, you are not only creating the opportunity to feel better sooner, but you are also protecting other areas in your life that can suffer when you’re not feeling well.
Our clinicians understand that your time is valuable. To ease scheduling conflicts we offer evening and Saturday appointments as well as phone sessions when time is really tight.
My parents will be helping me pay for therapy sessions. Does this mean they have access to my private information?
No, any confidential information you share with your Orenstein Solution’s psychologist will be kept private according to the law and our code of ethics. We do provide session statements to the party responsible for payment but those statements only display session date, time and type as well as a diagnosis code.
I’m afraid that young adult adjustment issues counseling will shine light on my problems and make me feel even worse.
Young adult adjustment issues treatment will not make anything worse. What it will do, however, is make you more aware of what’s not working in your life. This awareness can sometimes be painful, but sifting and sorting through that pain is a necessary step for learning about yourself and moving forward.
Your Orenstein Solutions therapist can help you identify self-limiting beliefs, offer practical and thoughtful feedback, and gently push you in ways that you may not be able to push yourself. Your therapist can help you discover new perspectives, creative solutions, highlight your progress and remind you to breathe. Working through your issues now can bring relief to your life sooner, as well as help to improve your confidence and ability to handle stress and conflict.
It takes courage to face young adult adjustment issues, and although it may feel more comfortable (in the short run) to hide, it is much more rewarding to face your challenges and overcome them. Your Orenstein Solutions therapist will be there to coach you through trials and push you in ways that you cannot push yourself. Your therapist can also highlight and celebrate your successes.
We provide services in the Raleigh-Cary metropolitan area. We invite you to call us for a free 15-minute consultation to discuss any questions you have about adjustment issues, your specific needs and our practice.
The College Companion E-Book Series
The College Companion: Your Survival Guide to College Life is a result of Dr. Susan Orenstein’s work` with high school and college students and their families.