Teenagers often experiment with various forms of alcohol, drugs or substance during their developing years. The cause is pressures at school, family problems or other personal issues. However, if these issues persist even when they move into adulthood, it is bound to cause more significant risks and addictions. If a teenager exhibits addiction symptoms, seeking help is essential. This article shall discuss the Scary reality of teenage addiction and ways to curb it.
Is Teenage Addiction a Growing Epidemic?
Teenage addiction is a growing epidemic for several reasons. Changes in cultural values, competitive educational environments, employment, etc. In addition, economic burdens and declining support from the family are also significant causes of the rampant growth of teenage addiction problems. However, awareness camps and events usually help raise awareness about drug and substance abuse.
Physical and Emotional Effects of Teenage Addiction
Substance abuse has serious health consequences, and it is crucial to address these to keep complications at bay. Teenage addiction could lead to issues such as:
Coordination change issues
Heart rate and BP issues
The structure and appearance of the body changes
Short-term physical effects:
Even short-term use of substances can lead to dangerous health conditions. They include:
Heart diseases and stroke.
Dental problems and weight loss
Constipation and cramps
Liver or kidney diseases
Mental effects of teenage addictions:
It impacts memory, behaviour, learning abilities, consciousness and concentration. Alcohol, cannabis and psychoactive drugs usually affect the brain’s functioning, directly leading to cognitive and behavioural changes and shortcomings in functioning.
Reasons for Teenage Addiction
Adolescents interact with and adapt to new experiences at their age. However, when they first start to take alcohol or drugs at this age, it potentially develops into an addiction and stunts mental growth. There are several reasons why addictions begin—
Boredom or Rebellion,
Alcohol, drug abuse and prescription medication dependence may exist at home. Unaware of the problems and effects of such reliance on medication, children may adapt to these drugs. According to a recent study in the Development and Psychopathology, children who’ve suffered from physical, emotional or sexual abuse could feel compelled to drink alcohol or experiment with drugs to numb the pain of their emotions.
Teenagers are eager to be accepted by their friends and to have a sense of belonging in their social circles. Sometimes, a friend may urge them to “try” a substance or have another drink, and a vulnerable teenage mind may give in. Drug use, in their minds, is just a part of normal adolescent behaviour.
To have a smoke is considered “a thing.” Movies, TV shows, and especially OTT platforms make it seem okay to smoke and consume alcohol. Popular music that teenagers listen to nowadays makes drugs like marijuana seem cool. Such influence, unfortunately, could have long-term addiction effects.
Teenagers often go through depression and low self-esteem issues, influencing them to take something that makes them feel good instantly. According to the World Health Organization report, adolescents between 15 and 19 use alcohol to escape mental health issues.
Boredom or Rebellion:
Sometimes a teenager can feel neglected, probably at home amongst friends. They may use alcohol or drugs as a means to experience excitement. Alcohol may give angry teenagers a license to behave aggressively. Marijuana may help them fill an internal void.
Teenagers undergo immense stress. Pressure from home, school, teachers and peers weighs down on them, and they may struggle to cope with the stress. Children with no one to share these feelings may feel isolated or depressed. Exams are also significantly stress-inducing for students. The environment, pressure and expectation usually push them and make teenagers turn to substances or alcohol to numb the stress.
The Reluctance to Seek Help
Teenagers are often reluctant to get the help they require because they may feel they’re not addicted and can leave it anytime. There could be other reasons too:
Not ready to stop using it
May not know where to seek help
Too embarrassed to talk to family or friends
May worry about the negative long-term impact they may have on their academics
Cost of treatment
Treatment for Teenage Addiction
Behavioural Treatment Programmes:
These treatments usually consist of a motivational method to motivate teens to recover, intervention methods to tackle issues and also methods that include positive reinforcement to treat the problems.
Family-based therapies and treatments target issues such as co-occurring disorders, handling peer pressure, family communication and conflicts.
The treatments involving support groups are the most common. They are resources that could aid teens in staying sober, and once the treatment ends, they have companionship to help them from falling back into teenage addictions. Support groups like Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) and Narcotics Anonymous (NA) are present in India and provide peer support and encouragement for individuals struggling with addiction.
Yoga, Mediation and Ayurveda:
In recent years, yoga and meditation have gained popularity in India as a complementary therapy for addiction treatment as it reduces stress. Ayurvedic practitioners use a combination of herbal remedies, dietary changes, and lifestyle modifications to help individuals overcome addiction.
The Indian government has established several deaddiction centres nationwide to provide affordable addiction treatment. These centres provide medical detoxification, counselling, and vocational training to help individuals overcome addiction and reintegrate into society.
Teenage De-Addiction: Road to Recovery
There is a cure for everything, as is a recovery from addiction, and follow-up care is an essential part of teenage deaddiction. After rehab, the teenager may continue with outpatient therapy or support groups to maintain sobriety. The family may also need support and education on how to support their loved one’s recovery. Relapse management procedures involve planning for potential setbacks and developing strategies to prevent or address them. Recognising that relapse is common in addiction recovery and should not be viewed as a failure is essential. Instead, it should be seen as an opportunity to learn and strengthen one’s recovery plan.
Recovery from teenage addiction is possible. Consult a rehab facility today if required.