Substance abuse is a devastating disease, sometimes plaguing the rest of an addict’s life and causing heartbreak and loss throughout families and society. Even worse is when the addiction begins as early as adolescence.
However, through education and understanding, parents, teens, and society can help to reduce the risk of addiction taking over the future of a bright and talented young person’s life.
Statistics of Substance Abuse for Teenagers Reflect the Path Needed to Guide Teens’ Futures
Statistics show widespread abuse of drugs and alcohol by teenagers and young adults, although the trends show hope for the prognosis of prevention, especially concerning alcohol consumption.
According to the National Institute for Drug Abuse (NIDA) in 2011:
• 25 percent of seniors admitted to getting drunk within a one-month span.
• 4.4 percent of 8th graders claimed the same.
• Marijuana use in seniors jumped to 22.6 percent from 18.8 percent in 2007.
• 11.7 percent of teens smoked cigarettes while 15.2 percent chose marijuana.
Fortunately, alcohol consumption has lowered since the ’90s. Methamphetamines, inhalants, pharmaceutical abuse, and others, although used by a smaller percentage than marijuana and alcohol, fluctuate but do remain an issue.
Substances that teens tend to abuse can seem overwhelming in their variety, including inhalants, cannabinoids (marijuana and hashish), pharmaceuticals, narcotics, stimulants, club drugs, and others.
However, knowing the signs of substance abuse can help a parent, teacher, or peer detect a problem even when it’s tough to stay abreast of drug trends.
How to Look for the Signs and Understand the Causes of Substance Abuse for Teenagers
Signs spotted early can help aid prevention. Realizing the underlying causes and proactively trying to curb triggers of substance abuse can also go a long way in creating healthy, addiction-free adults.
Symptoms of teenage substance abuse are similar to that of adult addiction. Among them are:
• Lying and making excuses
• Breaking curfew or staying in his or her room
• Growing verbally or physically abusive toward others
• Mood swings or sleeplessness
• Changes in friends
• Signs of paraphernalia such as pipes for drugs, multiple pill bottles, or needles
Along with these behavioral symptoms, loved ones should also look for physical symptoms of drug or alcohol intoxication, such as slurred speech and mental confusion, as well as signs of withdrawal such as sweating, anxiety, depression, and tremors.
Awareness and education on the causes of teenage substance abuse are just as, if not more, important as recognizing the symptoms. Risk factors for teenage drug and alcohol abuse include inadequate parent supervision or communication, family conflicts, inconsistent or severe parental punishment, a family history of drug abuse, and other factors including sexual abuse, learning or emotional problems, and poor impulse management.
Substance Abuse and Teenagers Is a Sobering Reality, but You Can Make A Difference
Teenage substance abuse can lead to problems such as full-blown addictions, unsafe sex, increased or masked emotional problems, mental and emotional impairment, possible suicide, violence, and organ damage or failure.
Acting now can help save a life or prevent substance abuse from ever happening. Clear communication from parents about the risks of drug use, improved positive parental involvement, and family-oriented drug prevention programs are also very helpful. Fellow teens and teachers can likewise be educated and practice substance abuse awareness to foster drug-free futures in their communities.
We can help you find the right center to make a difference in a troubled teen’s life. Contact us today for a free consultation and create a bright future amid the darkness of addiction.