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Teen Addiction

Teen Addition

Teenagers today are exposed to many more substances that are addictive than they were many years ago. Teens and addiction has become a major epidemic in many areas of the country. Teens and addiction is not just drug abuse; addictions come in many different forms.

According to NIDA, statistically in the United States alone teens and addiction show, 80 percent of seniors in high school have tried alcohol, while 32 percent admit becoming intoxicated in the past month. In addition, 73 percent of these high school students smoke marijuana, and a startling one third of high school students smoke cigarettes. Unfortunately, the numbers continue to rise as teens begin using very addictive drugs such as cocaine and heroin, which can lead to addiction very quickly.

Another addiction on the rise among teens is prescription drug abuse. These drugs are obtained without a prescription, which is becoming common with teens and addiction. This percentage among teens is as high as 20 percent, which is typically for pain medications .Prescription drug addiction can turn into one of many addictions.†

It is estimated that 25 percent of Americans die because of substance abuse, which include alcohol, prescription drug abuse, illicit drugs, and cigarettes. Of these teens, many drive automobiles under the influence, which causes accidents, injuries, and death.


Why Teens Ignore the Dangers

Many teens focus on the here and now and may be very egocentric and want to fit in with their peers to the point that they also use drugs to be cool. In addition, teens do not think anything bad could ever happen to them, they have a sense that they are invincible.

Moreover, many teens truly believe that they can just stop drinking, smoking, or drug use at any time and that there is no risk of addiction. This type of thinking goes back to the belief that they are indestructible. Remember, many teens are living for the day, which is to say they are not concerned about the consequences of a possible nasty addiction.


Teens are more Vulnerable to Addictions

Because the teen brain is still growing, it leaves them more susceptible to addiction. The teen brain is responsive to everything in the environment, which is how they learn quickly. The brain of the teen is always learning and teens and addiction often go hand in hand. It appears that addictions among teens are rampant. They experiment with various drugs.  Their brains which are not fully developed are making connections that can be more habit-forming.

 For example, studies have shown that a teen that uses an addicting substance has a greater time of reaching their baseline so if a teen uses a drug it may affect them much longer than it does an adult. Therefore, the teen is tapping into habit-forming areas of the brain in a more robust way than adults are and addiction can follow quicker.


How to Recognize Addiction in Teens

 Often, parents simply do not recognize the signs of teens and addiction.  There are four different warning areas of addiction in teens, which include physical, emotional, family relations, and school.


The physical warning signs of teen addiction include:

1. A persistent cough

2. Extreme fatigue

3. Glazed and red eyes

4. Health complaints


Emotional warning signs of teen addiction include:

1. Obvious personality changes

2. Moodiness

3. Irritability

4. Sudden onset of irresponsible behavior

5. Depression

6. Lack of interest in things he or she once was interested in


School problems relating to teen addiction include:

1. Lack of interest in school

2. Poor grades

3. Discipline problems at school

4. Skipping school regularly

5. Overall negative attitude about education


Family relations affected by teen addiction include:

1. Breaking the rules set by parents

2. Argumentative

3. Appears secretive

4. Pulls away from family

 Socially, the teen begins to make bad decisions about the group of friends he or she is involved with. Many times the teens break ties with old friends and begin making friends with troubled, addcitied teens.

Teen Addiction Treatment

Teens and addiction is a very serious problem facing many families today.  Drugs are prevalent in the school system and in their community. Drugs were not as prevalent 25 years ago. When you recognize the signs of addiction in your teen, rather, you need to take action before your teen ends up in deeper trouble, such as serving prison time or worse, death.

 Parents suspecting their teens of addiction should have their children tested for drugs randomly.  Parents should not let their teen know the drug test is coming up, because teens are quite clever at passing drug tests when they have advanced notice. If the screening comes back positive, you must immediately get your teen in a substance abuse treatment program.

 Keep in mind that not all treatment programs are created equal.  The one you choose should coincide with the type of abuse your teen is suffering from and take into account his or her personality type. For instance, if your teen is quiet and withdrawn without drugs, a treatment program that has a calmer setting might work best. On the other hand, teens that are outgoing and naturally rowdy without drugs may require a more hands-on approach with lots of interaction from staff and other patients in treatment.

 The silver lining of teens and addiction is that there is hope and there is a program right for your teen. In addition, many teens need psychological treatment along with the drug treatment.  Many teens are actually self-medicating with drugs attempting to treat an underlying medical condition such as depression or bipolar disorder.


All parents want their teens to stay away from drugs.  The sad truth is that addiction among teens is on the rise, which is why parents must know the early warning signs of addiction. The sooner you can intervene, the better chance your child has of remaining drug-free. Of course, you and your teen will need ongoing maintenance in order to ensure the treatment program is truly effective.

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