Teenage substance abuse is a disturbing trend that has continued upwards over the past few decades. It can have a major impact on their mental and physical development and sometimes completely alter the trajectory of their lives. In fact, 90% of adults with a current addiction report that they had first begun abusing chemical substances before they were 18. Peer pressure, social anxiety, low self-esteem, familial stress – these are just a handful of circumstances commonly cited as the cause of teenage drug use. Their unique set of triggers and consequences has given rise to the development of specific drug rehab for teens that are better suited to treat their psychological, developmental, and social needs.
Signs of Drug Use In Teens
It can be difficult to differentiate the moody, pubescent behaviors of an adolescent from the signs of drug abuse. Identification will likely come from behavioral changes rather than any outwardly obvious physical symptoms.
- Falling grades
- Loss of interest in activities
- Poor hygiene and lack of interest in personal appearance
- Drastic weight loss
- Increased fatigue
- Missed curfew
- Avoiding eye contact
- Impaired driving (car accidents)
- Depression or anxiety
- Changes in friend groups
- Bloodshot eyes
- Memory lapses
- Mood swings
- Lying and stealing
A combination of increased accessibility and changing perception has led to a steady rise in adolescent drug use. Consequently, the number of fatal overdoses amongst young people has risen as well. While alcohol, marijuana, and tobacco products are the most commonly used drugs of this demographic, “smart drugs” (like Adderall or Ritalin) and prescription drug abuse are on the rise.
Why Drugs Are Especially Dangerous for Teenagers
The human brain takes well over 20 years to fully develop. Drugs can interfere with that development, stunting cognitive ability, and the ability to regulate emotion. The prefrontal cortex which is responsible for decision making, impulsivity, reasoning, and judgment, can be stunted.
In addition to harming the development of the brain, introducing drugs early on can make them 7 times more likely to develop an addiction later on in life. This can indirectly lead to a higher risk of cardiovascular health issues such as heart disease, heart failure, or high blood pressure, mental disorders, or sleep disorders.
Treating Adolescent Addiction: Drug Rehab for Teens
There is no other period of life when an individual is more susceptible to external influences than their teenage years. Even in the best of cases, the transition from adolescence to adulthood is one that’s rife with self-consciousness as teens juggle academic, societal, and social pressures. And since teens are innately prone to risky behavior, adding drugs into the mix can quickly lead to a downward spiral of events that could forever alter the direction of their lives.
Dealing with teenage addiction is a tricky endeavor as the nuances of addiction can manifest themselves differently than it would in adults. Teens face a unique set of triggers that can drive them to experiment with drugs – one of which is simply curiosity. As such, it’s imperative that their unique psychological needs are addressed in the drug treatment process.
No matter how “tame” a substance may seem, any type of addiction is dangerous for a teenager. Get help today and contact one of our staff members to find the best route of action for your son or daughter.