Teenage drug abuse is one of the major international concerns that we are facing today. There are various reasons why teenagers begin using drugs. For many teenagers, getting high on drugs is their way of getting into the “in crowd.” As a result, teen drug abuse is often rooted in the concept of social acceptance.
If you smoke a joint with certain teenagers, drink an insane amount of alcohol at a party or maybe use another substance to be able to stay up all night partying in some desert, then you could be considered “cool.” Some teenagers believe that if you don’t use drugs, you are not cool and therefore an outcast. This is one of the myths that teenagers feed each other to foster a sense of exclusivity.
Teenage drug abuse may also be rooted in the concept of testing oneself. There is a fallacy floating around that if you are not able to handle drugs, then you are weak. Given this, teenagers begin using drugs in an effort to prove themselves. Many times teens take more and more of a drug to try to impress their peers. At a party, a teen may take repeated hits off a bong amid the cheers of their friends. With this level of support and praise from friends, teens often feel good about themselves, leading them to repeat this behavior.
It is also very possible that teenagers are abusing performance-enhancing drugs. There are many adolescent drug abuse cases that suggest that student athletes take performance-enhancing drugs in order to make the cut or sustain their position in the team. For these teens, their sport is their life, and they are willing to compromise their health by taking steroids or other performance-enhancing drugs in an effort to improve at their sport.
In addition, certain factors make it more likely that teens will start abusing drugs. According to Medline Plus, the causes of teen drug abuse include:
- Genetics. If a teen’s parents or other immediate family members have struggled with abuse and addiction, it increases the likelihood of the teen developing a substance abuse issue as well.
- Mental health conditions. Teens who suffer from mental health issues, such as borderline personality disorder, depression or eating disorders are more likely to start experimenting with drugs or alcohol.
- Peer group. Teens who hang around other teens or adults who abuse drugs or alcohol are more likely to start abusing the substance as well.
- Poor self-image. Teens who struggle with low self-esteem or a poor perception of self are more likely to start using drugs or alcohol.
While there are many reasons that teens initially start experimenting with drugs, many teens aren’t aware of the widespread effects of this experimentation. What starts out innocently enough often leads to regular abuse and ultimately addiction.
Risks of Teen Substance Abuse
Drug and alcohol abuse at any age carries with it a bevy of health risks; however, these risks are even greater for those who start using drugs at a younger age. Since the brain is still undergoing crucial development during the teenage years, teens who use drugs can cause serious harm to the brain, resulting in long-term and even permanent damage.
Teens who abuse drugs are more likely to suffer in school, even failing classes or dropping out altogether. Without a solid education, a teen’s future career chances are limited. Some teens are arrested for possession of drugs, leading to a criminal record and even jail time.
Finally, a teen’s social development can be severely impeded by drug use. Relationships can be seriously damaged and the teen’s development suffers greatly as a result. In short, the damage to a teen’s entire life from substance abuse is great.
Getting Help for Teenage Drug Use
Thankfully, there are plenty of available options to help teens kick their drug use for good. If you are a teen seeking drug addiction help, or a parent searching for a treatment program for your teen, contact us today. We can educate you on available programs that offer high-quality, evidence-based addiction treatment for teens.
While most addiction treatment programs employ similar approaches, you’re best off choosing a program that targets their treatment specifically to teens. Teens are going through a different stage of life than adults and it’s important that the treatment program they choose meets them where they are. Also, in teen-specific treatment, other teens will be involved in group therapy sessions. You’re more likely to relate to those in group therapy if they are in a similar life situation to you.
Addiction does not have to alter the course of your life. Call today to get the help you need.