Adolescent Addiction: An Epidemic

August 12, 2015

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Adolescent Addiction

As a parent, it’s extremely difficult to watch your child struggle with any type of addiction. Sometimes it’s even more difficult to know if they’ve developed a problem with substance abuse. Most people believe that kids will be kids, and they’re going to experiment with drugs and alcohol no matter what we do to prevent it. While young people are naturally curious, it’s important to keep communication open with your child because adolescent addiction has turned into a worldwide epidemic.

Adolescent Addiction and Our Youth

Back in the 60s and 70s, it was common for young people to experiment with alcohol and softer drugs like marijuana. Now, young people are trying drugs and alcohol at a much younger age than ever before. A recent study showed that over 80 percent of young people between the ages of 12 and 18 have tried alcohol, and half of those children have tried marijuana. Another study taken among high school seniors found that roughly one in ten high school seniors have used meth at least once.

Using For Social Status

Communities and schools try their best to warn children about the dangers of drugs and adolescent addiction. There are school assemblies and programs that are created to keep children away from drugs, but most of the time these events fall upon deaf ears. Children live in a time where drinking and using are closely related to social status. When high school students were asked, they said that students who used the most drugs were seen as the coolest ones in school.

This is also prevalent when young people listen to music or watch television. Drug and alcohol use is directly related to fame and fortune. This gives children a very mixed signal when it comes to substance abuse. When they’re told by adults that drugs and alcohol can ruin their lives, but they see celebrities partying all the time and showing their success, it’s difficult to understand how substances can ruin lives.

Not long ago, a paparazzi photo was taken of Lindsay Lohan passed out drunk in a car wearing a popular brand name sweater. Within a week or two of the photo being released, the sweater was sold out. This is a sign that young people don’t see a problem with how their celebrity idols are acting.

Managing Stress

As adults, we forget how stressful being a teenager was. We often think that it would be amazing to go back in time to live our carefree teenage years, but there was actually a lot of stress. Teens have to worry about their social status, school, sports and relationships. They’re so young that they don’t always realize that many of these feelings will pass, so they turn to substances as a way to escape their feelings.

Young people’s brains aren’t fully developed, so their drinking and using causes them to become dependent much easier than adults. Rather than learning how to deal with stresses in healthy ways, they’re training their brain to turn to drugs or alcohol, developing adolescent addiction to cope with life.

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