Does affluence contribute to drug use?
Promises, one of the country's top alcohol and drug treatment centers has noticed an alarming trend emerging among its younger clientele most have grown up in extremely affluent families, and have never had to do
much for themselves, as they are used to having staff such as housekeepers and cooks at their disposal. Further, their parents have almost always bailed them out of whatever trouble they have gotten into, which leads to
staggering levels of entitlement and a strong sense that rules do not apply to them.
"This is an alarming trend," said Dr. David Sack, CEO of Promises. "We are seeing young adults in their 20s who just don't seem to understand that they can't have everything they want when they want it. Throughout their
lives, their parents' money was the solution to all of their problems, and we find that they are unable to do things like laundry, or make friends."
Sack points out that treating these young adults who have ventured into drugs and alcohol can be challenging because they have been able to escape consequences because their parents have consistently bailed them out
of trouble. Often times there is significant dysfunction in the family the child often feels strong pressure to live up to match the success of their overachieving, sometimes absent parents, and when they sense that they
aren't going to be able to, drugs and alcohol are often where they turn.
Children of affluent parents often find themselves trying to buy friendships, frequently picking up the tab, which of course ultimately leaves them wide open to being taken advantage of. These young people often have very
large social circles without a single real friend because their self esteem is so low that they have polluted all of their social relationships with money. Thus they often feel extremely lonely and isolated despite the fact that they
have such large social circles, which reinforces the cycle of substance abuse.
"As parents, our job is to teach our children how to exist in the world so that by their 20s, they are able to be relatively self sufficient, but in order to do that, we need to let them experience consequences and do things like
clean their own rooms. That's not to say we shouldn't help subsidize our children in their 20s as they get started with their lives, but if we simply throw money at every problem our kids encounter, we are simply creating a
cycle of dependency and entitlement that can cripple our children," concluded Sack.
David Sack, M.D. currently serves as CEO, at Promises Treatment Centers. Prior to joining Promises, Dr. Sack has enjoyed successful careers in clinical, research and administrative psychiatry. After receiving his medical
degree from Rush Medical College, he completed his residency in Psychiatry at the UCLA-Neuropsychiatric Institute. Dr. Sack served as a senior clinical scientist at NIMH where his research interests included affective
disorders, seasonal and circadian rhythms and neuroendocrinology. More recently, Dr. Sack served as Senior Vice President for Clinical Research for Comprehensive Neurosciences where his research included
investigations in schizophrenia, depression, insomnia, cognitive disorders and alcohol dependency. Dr. Sack is board certified in Psychiatry, Addiction Psychiatry and Addiction Medicine, and is a certified Medical Review
Officer. His experience in substance abuse treatment includes implementing comprehensive ambulatory detoxification within general medical settings, substance abuse treatment of adjudicated youth and adults, and
developing specialized residential and outpatient treatment programs of dually-diagnosed clients in both rural and urban settings.