Understanding Teen Addiction and What Can Be Done
According to The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), the number of teenagers with a substance-use disorder is high. What is even alarming is that about 60% of teenagers dealing with addiction also have a mental health disorder. When your teen starts dealing with alcohol and drug addiction, it could be a sign of an underlying mental health condition. As much as substance-use disorder is a health concern in itself, your teen may be using it to cope with stress, depression, anxiety, and trauma. The worst part about teens not getting help is that the problem can continue into adulthood.
Substance Use Among Teens
Alcohol intake and substance use among young people are common, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). In fact, binge drinking starts from adolescence. While teens may drink on fewer occasions compared to adults, they also consume a large amount of alcohol. This could be because they do not have the opportunity to drink as much while under the supervision of their parents. So, when the opportunity arises, they go overboard.
Also, alcohol is more common among teenagers, but some of them use substances as well. It starts with tobacco products and soon goes to illicit substances.
Causes of Teen Substance Abuse
Some of the reasons teens use substances include:
- Experimentation: Most of the time, substance abuse in teenagers starts as an experiment, since teenagers like doing daring things. No one starts using it expecting it to lead to an addiction.
- Trying to fit in: Teenage years are accompanied by trying to fit in, looking cool, low self-esteem, and struggling to be accepted. Some teenagers start using substances to fit in with the ‘cool crowd,’ but eventually, this leads to addiction.
- To feel better: Teen years come with a few unpleasant situations like social anxiety, depression, assignments, etc. When one is overwhelmed, they turn to substances to feel better about the situation.
- Attention: A lot of times, teens struggle with finding their purpose. They want to be good at something to get the attention of their peers, parents, and teachers. When someone is dealing with feelings of inadequacy, it can push them to start using substances.
- Competition: Teenagers have a deep need to impress, perform well and make other people proud, which puts a lot of pressure on them. Whether it is academic or co-curricular activities, they want to be outstanding. This pressure can be intense and is what causes some teens to take drugs, especially prescription stimulants like smart drugs.
- Addiction: Another reason teens are abusing drugs is that they have already become addicted. It starts with experimentation at an early age but eventually becomes a habit. While you are not supposed to wait for the situation to get this far, sometimes one fails to spot the signs that your child is using. Still, it is important that your teen gets help as soon as possible. Click here and see what steps you can take to ensure your child receives treatment.
Identifying Substance Use Disorder in Teens
Some of the signs that can tell you your child is abused are as follows:
- Mood swings
- Hostile and irritable behavior
- Secretive behavior
- Depressed and withdrawing from other people
- Decrease in academic behavior
- Losing interest in hobbies, sports, or things they used to enjoy
- Poor hygiene
- The smell of alcohol or smoke on their clothes or breath
When you suspect that your teen is using drugs or alcohol, sit them down and ask. You should also investigate whether there are any underlying mental health conditions leading to this. Early intervention ensures that your child gets treatment before the situation becomes worse. Also, a recovery center will tailor treatment according to what your teen needs, ensuring they recover.