The Relationship Between Failure to Launch and Addiction

According to the 2018 National Survey on Drug Use and Health, around 5.1 million young adults aged 18 to 25 live with a substance use disorder. When examining this group, some interesting trends makes themselves known. First, young men tend to struggle more with substance abuse more than young women. Second, many of these young men also experience a phenomenon known as “failure to launch.” Seen this way, it’s easy to spot the possible link between failure to launch and addiction, along with a variety of other mental health disorders. These can include anxiety, depression, bipolar disorder, and social anxiety disorder.

What Is Failure to Launch Syndrome?

Failure to launch syndrome” is not a medically recognized syndrome. Rather, it’s a term used to describe situations where the challenges many young men face in the transition from adolescence to adulthood have held them back. 

During this transitory stage of development, where young men typically start to become more independent, responsible, and self-sufficient, that transition does not occur. As a result, young men experiencing failure to launch syndrome can grow frustrated. This leads to other mental health problems, including possible substance use disorders and addiction.

Signs of Failure to Launch Syndrome

In general, young men with failure to launch syndrome have problems setting and achieving goals. They are also afraid of failure, so they are reluctant to take chances.

It should be noted that some young men experiencing failure to launch syndrome may be struggling with a mental health disorder like ADHD, anxiety, or depression. In these cases, failure to launch is just one of many symptoms of the mental health disorder. Therefore, young men struggling with mental health disorder should seek appropriate treatment.

Other common signs of a failure to launch could include:

  • Unwillingness to take on responsibilities
  • Inability to deal with conflict and stress
  • Unwillingness to practice proper hygiene
  • Difficulties making decisions and sticking to commitments
  • Making rash decisions without considering the consequences
  • Lack of direction in one’s life
  • Inability to maintain meaningful relationships.
  • Inability to maintain employment
  • Relying on the support of one’s parents, with minimal or no desire to help
  • Returning home after numerous unsuccessful attempts at independent living
  • Difficulty expressing one’s emotions
  • Lack of interest in becoming a self-sustaining person
  • Not finishing high school or college
  • Spending excessive amounts of time “partying,” including abusing alcohol and drugs
  • A sense of entitlement without working toward what they might want
  • Difficulty respecting others
  • Expecting their parents to take care of their needs (laundry, paying bills, providing meals)

Each young man’s situation is unique. As such, he may only exhibit a few signs, whereas another young man could exhibit more.

The Link Between Failure to Launch and Mental Health Disorders

Failure to launch can create frustration in young men, causing them to lose self-confidence. As a result, some young men start making rash, impulsive, and self-destructive decisions, such as:

  • Engaging in unprotected sex with multiple partners
  • Binge drinking to experience the effects of alcohol sooner
  • Experimenting with different types of drugs
  • Driving while under the influence of alcohol and drugs
  • Withdrawing from family and friends

Furthermore, many co-occurring mental health disorders in young men have been linked to a failure to launch, including:

  • Personality Disorders
  • Social Anxiety Disorders
  • Depression
  • Eating Disorders
  • Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD)
  • Learning Disorders
  • Anxiety Disorders
  • Bi-Polar Disorder
  • Pornography/Sex Addictions
  • Internet Addictions
  • Electronics Addictions

Finding Addiction Treatment for Young Men

When a young man is experiencing failure to launch syndrome and is struggling with addiction and other mental health issues, they must get the professional help they need to address their substance use disorder and co-occurring mental health disorder.

Part of an effective addiction treatment plan should not only address the substance abuse but also focus on the underlying causes of failure to launch. Furthermore, when a young man has a co-occurring condition, the mental health issue needs to be treated alongside the addiction and failure to launch syndrome.

Fortunately, New Life House offers age-specific mental health treatment and aftercare, including mental health-focused sober living for young men. In these environments, young men living with substance use disorder and co-occurring mental health disorders—including failure to launch syndrome—can find the individualized treatment they need. Also, certain issues within the family dynamic may may need to be addressed. In these cases, family programming can help.

Overcome Failure to Launch at Sober Living Homes in Los Angeles for Young Men 

Part of recovery from substance abuse and a failure to launch is more than learning how to maintain sobriety. At New Life House, our sober living homes include programming specifically designed to help young men overcome their failure to launch and become independent, productive, and successful individuals. 

We help our young men determine where their interests lie to help them determine an appropriate career path. In addition, we teach them essential life skills, like how to cook and prepare meals, do laundry, and balance a checking account. 

Our goal is to help our young men become self-sufficient while practicing self-care, learning how to maintain healthy living spaces, and building long-lasting sober relationships. Most importantly, we allow our young men to reside in our sober living homes for however long they desire until they are fully comfortable moving forward with their independence.   

For further information about our sober living homes in the Los Angeles area and our programming to help young men overcome failure to launch and addiction, please contact us or email us at [email protected].

Last Updated on February 21, 2024


Contact Us

    Call Us Now: (888) 357-7577

    Call Us Now: (888) 357-7577