Insight Treatment is Now Clear Behavioral Health!

Failure to Launch Syndrome in Teens and Young Adults

Home » Our Blog » Failure to Launch Syndrome in Teens and Young Adults

Clinically Reviewed by:
Lindsey Rae Ackerman, LMFT

Written by:
Alex Salman, MPH on December 1, 2023

It’s a problem that’s become all too common in recent years: young adults or adult children who can’t seem to make the transition from adolescence to adulthood. They may have trouble keeping a job, maintaining a relationship, or living on their own. This phenomenon is known as “failure to launch syndrome”.

In our fast-paced, high-pressure world, it’s becoming increasingly difficult for young adults to find their footing. The pressure to succeed is immense, and the stakes are higher than ever before. With so much at stake, it’s no wonder that more and more young people are struggling to make the transition to adulthood.

When faced with the challenges of adulthood, most young adults simply give up. They may withdraw from society, resort to addictive behaviors like vaping, marijuana, and/or alcohol use, or turn to other destructive behaviors. Others seem to be stuck in a state of arrested development, unable to move forward in their lives.

For parents, it can be heart-wrenching to see their teen or adult child struggling. They may feel guilty, wondering if they could have done something differently to prevent this from happening. But it’s important to remember that failure to launch syndrome is not a personal failing; it’s a societal problem.

Failure to Launch Symptoms

A number of factors can contribute that may indicate a young adult or teen is struggling with failure to launch. If you’re not sure if you or someone you know is affected, here are some common symptoms:

  • Not finishing school or dropping out
  • Unable to find or keep a job
  • Losing interest in hobbies or activities that used to bring joy
  • Isolating from friends and family
  • Engaging in risky behaviors, such as drug use and/or alcohol use
  • Experiencing depression or anxiety
  • Having difficulty forming and maintaining relationships
  • Low self-esteem
  • Becoming defiant or disrespectful
  • Neglecting adult responsibilities

If these symptoms seem familiar, then it might be time to seek support. Failure to launch is a treatable problem, but it won’t go away on its own. The sooner you get help, the better your chances of making a full recovery.

Causes of Failure to Launch

There is no single cause of failure to launch. It’s a complex problem with a variety of contributing factors. Some of the most common causes include:

Pressure to succeed

In our achievement-oriented society, today’s youth are under immense stress and pressure to succeed. They may feel like they have to attain perfection in order to be happy and fulfilled.

Lack of role models

With more and more families struggling just to get by, it’s not surprising that many young adult children don’t have adults in their lives who can show them what it means to be a responsible adult. Without positive role models, it can be difficult for a young person to learn how to live independently.

Economic insecurity

The current economic climate is uncertain, and many young adults are struggling to find stable, well-paying jobs. This can make it difficult to support oneself, let alone a family, contributing to a large number of young adults living at home.

Poor mental health

Teen mental illnesses are a major risk factor for failure to launch. Young adults who suffer from depression, bipolar disorder, or other mental health disorders may have difficulty completing school, keeping a job, or forming relationships.

What Role Do Substances Play in Failure to Launch

Vaping, marijuana, drugs, and alcohol use can lead to a number of problems that make it difficult to live a successful, independent life. For example, substance abuse can:

  • Interferes with school or work
  • Damages relationships
  • Causes financial problems
  • Leads to legal problems
  • Makes mental health problems worse

Why Is Mental Health Important?

Mental health is important for everyone, but it’s especially important for a young adult. That’s because the teenage years and young adulthood are when most mental health disorders first appear. If left untreated, mental illness can have a profound effect on every aspect of your life.

  • Interfere with school or work
  • Damage relationships
  • Lead to Addiction
  • Cause financial problems
  • Make physical health problems worse

What You Can Do To Help Someone With Failure to Launch

If you know a young adult or teen who is struggling with failure to launch, there are a few things you can do to help. First, try to be understanding and patient. It’s not easy trying to make it on your own, and your loved one may need some time to figure things out.

Second, offer support and encouragement to your teen. Let them know that you’re there for them and that you believe in their ability to succeed. Third, be a positive role model. Show them what it looks like to live a responsible, independent life. Finally, reach out to a mental health professional to see how teen mental health treatment could improve the situation.

How Clear’s Teen Mental Health Outpatient Program can Help

If your teen or young adult struggles with failure to launch, it’s important to seek professional help as soon as possible. Clear’s teen outpatient mental health treatment may be the answer. Our treatment programs provide a safe and supportive environment for teens and emerging adults to uncover and address the underlying causes of failure to launch syndrome to empower them to lead an independent and fulfilling lifestyle. Each client’s needs are unique, which is why we individualize each treatment plan to the individual.

Our program also offers a number of services and benefits, including:

Teen Group Therapy

Group therapy helps patients to escape that feeling of isolation and allows them the opportunity to practice essential social and relationship skills in a healthy and productive environment. We offer several types of groups including process, psychoeducation, experiential, mindfulness, and art/movement therapy.

Individual Therapy and Case Management

Each of our clients is assigned a personal therapist who works directly with them through the duration of their treatment to help them identify and change negative thought patterns and behaviors that are fueling failure to launch. Additionally, every client receives support and guidance from a dedicated case manager so they may reenter the world more confident and prepared to tackle life’s challenges.

Life Skills Development

Each client will acquire healthy skills to confidently overcome life challenges and stressors. Some examples include stress management, self-care, coping skills, building boundaries, and anxiety management.

Family Therapy

Although we are treating the individual client, we recognize that the entire family system needs support and guidance. The ultimate goal is to repair the damaged parent/child relationship and improve communication within the family. To address this, we offer several group options for parents including multi-family groups, monthly family sessions, and weekly family updates.

Academic Counseling

In order for clients to attend the program and not fall behind in school, our academic counselors work with each student individually to make sure they stay on top of their school work and support them as needed. Our tutor works with each student, helping them to keep organized in order to achieve their full potential in school while advising them on their post-secondary plan.

Building a Peer Support Network

We are known for the sense of community and support that we foster in our program. Clients can form bonds with each other and staff members, which can lead to lasting friendships after graduation.

Access to resources

Sober living homes typically have a variety of resources available to residents, such as job placement assistance and educational programs. This can help residents get back on their feet and start living productive, successful lives.

Get Help Today

If you or someone you know is struggling with failure to launch, don’t hesitate to seek help. There are a number of treatment options available, and the sooner you get started, the better. Our mental health outpatient programs could be a great option for teens who are ready to overcome failure to launch and take on the world.

To learn more about teen recovery programs and how they can support your teen, please contact Clear Behavioral Health’s Teen Program today. We offer a variety of resources and programs designed to help teens succeed in life.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Mental Health Services and Addiction Treatment in Los Angeles
Take the next step. Call us now.

Take the next step. Call us now.

Are you a good fit for an intensive outpatient program?

I struggle with burnout, depression, or anxiety

I am exhausted and no amount of sleep seems to help

I feel overwhelmed by the amount of work I need to do

​​I have tried talk therapy and need more support

Has a clinician referred you to IOP treatment?