Teenagers face a number of problems on a day-to-day basis, with peer pressure at the top of the list. High expectations from parents and teachers coupled with pressure to fit in at school can be enough to send many kids looking for a way to escape. Many factors, including a history of anxiety or depression, genetic predisposition, and social pressure, make battling teen drug abuse extremely difficult. Learning more about drug abuse is a good first step to determining how teenagers can avoid it.
Commonly Abused Drugs
Teenagers are more likely to abuse drugs that are readily available to them. Marijuana is still the most common drug among teens. Recreational use of marijuana can affect the part of the brain that is responsible for judgment and decision-making, a part that is still growing in teenagers. Long-term health effects include problems with memory and learning.
However, battling teen drug abuse has to start at home. Prescription drugs, such as Adderall, OxyContin, and Valium, are a rising problem among teens because many have access through their parents’ medicine cabinet. Many teens don’t realize the dangers of prescription drugs because their addictive nature and harmful side effects are not always very well-known.
Ecstasy is another popular recreational drug, usually used by kids at parties or clubs. Ecstasy is a relatively inexpensive stimulant that makes the user feel happy and relaxed. Heavy, long-term use can create a “Swiss cheese” effect in the brain, damaging the areas responsible for memory and thought.
Inhalants are also on the rise among teens. Some teenagers have taken to inhaling aerosol sprays and gases in order to get a temporary high. Some common products used as inhalants are air fresheners, spray paint, glue, propane tanks, and even cans of whipped cream.
Causes of Drug Abuse
Teenagers become addicted to drugs for many of the same reasons as adults. A family history of addiction, depression, and/or anxiety, abuse or neglect, and early use of drugs are all factors that increase the likelihood that someone will abuse drugs.
Drug addiction can easily sneak up on a teenager. Those who only smoke marijuana or take pills in a social setting might be surprised at how easily they can develop addictions. It’s almost always difficult for addicts to recognize when they have crossed the line from casual user to abuser. If the drug was originally intended to help with a problem (such as ADD, depression, or anxiety), it can be especially difficult to realize when they have gone overboard.
The strongest method of battling teen drug abuse is to avoid drugs and have a reliable support system at home. Teens with parents or guardians who have ongoing conversations with them about the dangers of drug abuse are far less likely to become addicts. Parents should talk with their kids about the long-term effects of drugs, and kids should know they can talk with them at any time. Similarly, teens with high self-esteem are also less likely to experiment with drugs because they typically do not worry about fitting in with the crowd. Ways for teens to build their self-esteem include after-school activities like team sports, clubs, and productive hobbies.
There are many ways that teenagers can help educate others about drug prevention. Concerned teens can form discussion groups with their peers to create proactive ways to reach out to the community, such as by organizing fundraisers for local anti-drug programs. This could be particularly helpful for teens with a family history of drug abuse.
The Big Brothers Big Sisters program, an organization that helps disadvantaged youths where many of whom have parents or relatives who are addicts, always needs volunteers. Above the Influence is a government campaign designed to empower young people and give them the confidence needed to stand up to peer pressure. Teens can share videos, pictures, or stories about how they avoided peer pressure by staying true to themselves.
Battling Teen Drug Abuse with Morningside Recovery
Battling teen drug abuse sometimes isn’t enough. If someone in your life already has a drug or alcohol addiction, it’s time to help them get the treatment they need. The compassionate staff members of Morningside Recovery understand that each person’s recovery journey is unique. Therefore, we offer many rehab programs to tailor to the needs of unique groups, such as:
- Christian recovery program
- Couples counseling and treatment
- Jewish recovery for alcohol and drugs
- LGBTQ substance abuse
To learn more about these programs and how to help your loved one overcome addiction, call us today at 855-631-2135.