For many teens, the temptation to use drugs and alcohol is great. Easy access to substances, combined with peer pressure, can make it difficult to say, “No.” In addition, many young people live in the moment. They may have a hard time understanding how their current behaviors will impact their future. Unfortunately, many teens don’t realize that recreational or occasional substance use can spiral into an addiction. A teen’s best defense against teen drug addiction is prevent substances use in the first place.
The Source of Teen Drug Addiction
There are many reasons teens start experimenting with alcohol and other drugs. For some young people, it’s driven by a desire to fit in. Their friends may be using and they want to be like everyone else. Other teens may be struggling with negative feelings. Drugs and alcohol can provide a temporary escape from family troubles, dating relationships, and difficulty at school. Some teens use drugs or alcohol to cope with underlying mental health issues, like undiagnosed depression or anxiety.
Sometimes teen drug addiction occurs to increase academic performance. They may use a friend’s prescription ADHD medication to stay up all night studying for an important exam. In some cases, teens may misuse their own prescription medications, taking more than has been prescribed by the doctor. Prescription medications can give a false sense of being “okay” to use recreationally because they’re not street or illegal drugs. Teens may justify using drugs if they think it’s helping them get good grades.
Many teens who drink alcohol end up binge drinking, consuming several drinks in a very short period of time. Alcohol lowers a person’s inhibitions and clouds their judgment. Even one night of binge drinking can have lasting consequences for a teen.
The Consequences of Teen Substance Abuse and Addiction
No one starts using drugs or alcohol thinking they will become addicted. For many, it is a slippery slope. Eventually, the need to use takes priority over everything else in their life. Substance abuse can have lasting, negative consequences for young people:
- Teens who use drugs to stay awake for “cram sessions” may end up with long-term difficulties in falling asleep. While they may have gotten an “A” on one test, all of their grades are now suffering as they struggle to stay awake during class.
- Drinking too much alcohol impairs a person’s judgment. Teens may underestimate how quickly they can become intoxicated. They may do things they wouldn’t ordinarily do, like have unprotected sex or get into a car with a drunk driver.
- Overdoses and alcohol poisonings are very real consequences of drug and alcohol use. Other teens may be too impaired or too scared to call for help if someone needs medical attention.
Over time, teen drug addiction takes a toll on a person’s body, including the brain, liver, and heart, leading to serious health problems. Drug and alcohol abuse is hard not just on the person using, but on the people who love them. This includes family, friends, teachers and other mentors. It is difficult to watch substance abuse take over a teen’s life.
Starting on the Path to a Brighter Future
Young people have it in their control to start making better choices. Recovery during your teen years can help you avoid a lifetime of addiction and the negative consequences that come with it. Don’t let substance abuse stand in the way of your life. You deserve a bright future.
At First Steps Recovery, we offer both inpatient and outpatient programs for teens. Every person struggling with addiction has unique needs, and your treatment is tailored just for you. For more information on our treatment services, please contact us today.