The Early 20’s is a High-Risk Time for Emerging Adults. Here’s What Concerned Parents Can Do

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Raising kids is stressful when children are young, and again when they go through the teen years. But by their early 20s, parents should be able to take a deep breath and congratulate themselves on a job well done. Ideally by this time, your children have embarked on a career path and are ready to stand on their own as full-fledged adults.

However, the reality is that in many families, it’s not quite so simple. These so-called “emerging adult” years are a time of heightened risk in a variety of ways. Consider: Substance use and abuse peaks at age 21 to 22, including binge drinking, marijuana use and other drug use; serious mental health disorders such as schizophrenia and bipolar disorder typically appear for the first time in the late teens or early twenties; a host of other mental health disorders increase sharply from adolescence to emerging adulthood, most notably major depression and anxiety disorders; eating disorders are highest among young women in their 20s.

by Jeffrey Jensen Arnett and Elizabeth Fishel, AARP

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