Adolescent Substance Abuse And Teen Drug Addiction

Adolescent Substance Abuse And Teen Drug Addiction

Teen abuse and neglect are the main factors that can lead to adolescent substance abuse. So let’s learn more about the causes and prevention.

Substance abuse and teen addiction treatment among adolescents is higher than it has ever been. Not only are teens abusing alcohol and marijuana, but many are journeying down the path of narcotic, amphetamine, and opioid abuse.

Parents can help teens avoid this slippery slope by educating, communicating, and caring.

Causes Of Adolescent Substance Abuse And Teen Drug Addiction

Here are the different factors that contribute to adolescent substance abuse:

1. Mental Or Physical Abuse

Childhood abuse often leads to drug use. Mental abuse is described as bullying, demeaning, or blaming the child for something that is clearly not their fault.

Other forms of mental abuse include constantly insulting or humiliating the child in front of others or manipulating their movements and actions based on the abuser’s agenda.

Physical abuse often starts with a slap, grab, or pinch before escalating into punches, chokeholds, and restraint.

Children who suffer this type of abuse question their being and develop low self-esteem. Many also develop PTSD as a result of abusive treatment.

So make sure to search online for terms such as drug detox Austin or wherever you live to find the best facilities for you or your child.

2. Sexual Abuse

Unfortunately, it happens all too often. About 20% of teen girls and 8% of teen boys felt they had been victims of some sexual abuse before high school graduation.

Sexual abuse victims are four times more likely to abuse drugs as an escape mechanism.

3. Neglect

Neglect can occur in many forms. A parent who ignores their child for the better part of the day is neglectful.

Improper physical care, clothing, and food are examples of neglect.

Poor living conditions and lack of modern conveniences are common in neglect cases.

And next, we have the social factors that influence the risk of adolescent substance abuse.

4. Socio-Economic Factors

Living in a single-parent household often leads to drug use because the living conditions or environment are less than they could be.

A lower-class community also increases the chance of neglect or abuse because daily expectations and needs stress the parents.

Other socio-economic factors that cause kids to use drugs include:

  • Family patterns of drug or alcohol use;
  • Parent’s level of education and type of job;
  • Single-family home or apartment complex;
  • The poverty level of the neighborhood.

5. Media

Music, television, and movies all glamorize drug use and abuse. Many teens see drugs as a way to be cool or get rich quickly due to these media examples.

Too many characters use or abuse drugs, and it is acceptable. These shows rarely mention the negative consequences of drug or alcohol abuse.

6. Peer Relationships

Peer pressure and the desire to be popular are significant factors in a teen’s decision to use drugs. If a child wants to be part of the popular group, they may use drugs to be cooler than their peers.

This might lead to instant popularity, especially for girls who are not as attractive or athletic as their peers.

Lack of self-confidence can also lead to drug or alcohol use because using a substance will give the child the courage to do something they were too afraid to try.

Lack of confidence can also lead to anxiety and stress. Teens may choose to self-medicate to cope with things.

7. Gang Affiliation

A gang is defined as three or more people engaged in delinquent behavior. The modern gang usually has more members, and the behaviors are more crime-like.

Gangs appeal to teens, especially teens who have been abused or neglected, because of the close-knit community created by gang members.

Others join gangs because of a generational family membership.

Some teens who have been victims of bullying will turn to a gang as a means of protection.

Some gangs require drug use as a way to gain entry. Others require physical or sexual abuse, which can lead to drug abuse.

On the whole, gangs promote substance abuse through, use, trafficking, and sales of narcotics.

How Does An Individual Family History Affect Their Risk Of Abusing Drugs?

Children of drug users are 50% more likely to become drug users.

Routinely seeing parents or other family members under the influence of substances becomes the norm for the teen. The behavior is not discouraged, so the child gets involved.

Strained family-child relationships can also lead to drug use. Negative family relationships characterized by abuse, neglect, or constant stress are more likely to create drug-abusing teens.

Close-knit families with group activities and open communication are less likely to create drug-abusing teens.

Does Genetics Play A Role In The Development Of Drug Addiction In Adolescents?

Scientists are actively seeking the answer to this question. The preliminary findings indicate that there may be some likelihood of drug or alcohol use among children of addicts.

The science behind it is technical and hard to explain, but researchers believe alcohol and drugs attach to certain DNA strands that control impulses and mental health.

Therefore, children of addicts may be up to 50% more likely to try drugs or alcohol. Addiction, however, depends on other factors such as those listed above.

What Should I Do If I Think My Child Has A Drug Problem?

If you suspect a drug or alcohol-related problem, the first thing you should do is talk to your teen. Do not accuse or punish.

Sit down with them and have a conversation. They might deny it, but you will know you need to watch for the signs and symptoms.

If you determine that there is a problem, contact a teen addiction treatment facility. These medical centers have specialists educated in adolescent behaviors, brain development, and coping mechanisms.

What Is A Teen Addiction Treatment?

Teen addiction treatment programs are designed to treat adolescents whose needs are different from adult addicts.

Therapy and detox are conventional treatment methods that might be included.

The teen addiction treatment center often incorporates family involvement.

Here are the main types of treatment available for adolescent substance abuse:

1. Behavioral therapy

Teens are taught how to cope with everyday stresses and unexpected events.

Issues such as peer pressure, popularity, and school problems are discussed, and the teen and the therapist develop coping methods.

Relaxation techniques, meditation, physical activity, or art might be outlets for the teen’s anxiety.

2. Family Therapy

Open communication among family members is one of the best deterrents for drug abuse.

Guided therapy sessions will help family members get things out in the open and create plans and goals for the future.

3. Treatment Community Groups

The teen will become part of the treatment community group. These individuals have all dealt with addiction issues and have pledged to help one another.

This group will support your teen’s efforts to remain sober.

Teens who have entirely recovered from their addiction move up in the group and eventually become group leaders.

4. Inpatient Services

Occasionally, the teen’s addiction will be so severe the family can’t deal with it at home. Part-time inpatient services are available for these teens.

Medical staff monitors the teen and intervenes whenever there is a problem.

Detox and pharmacotherapy may be part of this inpatient treatment plan.

Even if the teen is admitted into the inpatient program, family members are involved in the treatment, therapy, and future planning.


Many factors can lead to adolescent substance abuse. Many of these are beyond their control, but good teen treatment programs can help overcome the problem.

Parents can do a lot to deter drug or alcohol use by being supportive, loving, and encouraging communication and respect.

If you or your teen need help, contact your family doctor today!

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