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Marijuana Renders More Millennials Anxious, Obsessive & Stuck

No one aspires to live at “home” forever, but some young adults are short-circuiting life’s natural progression to avoid the inevitable – growing up.

The causes range from social anxiety to a hostile economy, complicated by the growing availability of marijuana.

Staying frozen in post-adolescence, dubbed “failure to launch,” is only likely to grow with four states (Colorado, Alaska, Oregon, Washington) and Washington, DC, legalizing marijuana’s recreational use.

Eleven states (California, Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Nevada, New York, Rhode Island and Vermont) are on the path toward legalization.

Those (mostly males) who delay their growth tell themselves that “all will be fine tomorrow,” suggests Mark Banschick, MD, writing in Psychology Today.

“So he smokes weed to cut down on anxiety; plays video games to fill up his time and ‘connects’ with facebook for endless hours, while living in a room he grew up in and should have grown out of by now.”

Psychotherapist and counselor Dawn Larson, with Colorado Therapies in Boulder, said her “failure to launch” caseload has tripled over the past five years.

Easy access to medical marijuana took effect in Colorado in 2010; sale of recreational marijuana started Jan. 1, 2014.

Many of Larson’s “failure” cases involve heavy marijuana use and lead to a shift in “lifestyle,” she said. Related issues include “lower motivation for college and working, resisting driving due to the DUI risks” and obsessive behaviors over gaming, food and health.

She added: “Getting these kids out of their basements can be tough.”

Denver-based career coach and author Michael Kerrigan has designed a program to deal specifically with the “failure” phenomenon drawing largely from CAREER MATTERS: The Young Persons’ Interactive Guide to Direction, Action and Results, his online guide for those in their teens and 20s who need help in creating a blueprint for their future.

It’s critical that clients clarify who they are, what they’re doing and how that fits with what they want from life. Key areas include:

Understanding what’s preventing a launch

Establishing and pursuing a clear direction

Identifying practical skills and abilities to achieve stated goals

Clients can anticipate a clear understanding of themselves and their abilities, greater resilience and a sense of direction, and the knowledge to manage change successfully.

Completing the program provides the foundation for a future that means something.

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