Substance abuse issues and drug addiction during teenage years is a serious and often overlooked problem. Drug addiction during these crucial development stages can be extremely damaging and can potentially affect the person for the rest of their life, as childhood habits are harder to break than those formed later in life.
And contrary to popular belief, teenage drug addiction is not uncommon within western societies; therefore specialised drug addiction treatment for teenagers is essential, particularly early intervention before it drastically affects the rest of the teenager’s life.
It’s important to remember that there isn’t usually one single cause when it comes to drug addiction, and teenage minds being far more impressionable and fragile than their adult counterparts results in an even wider range of possible causes of teenage drug addiction.
However, one of the main factors is childhood naivety, particularly regarding their problems and wider problems in the world. Adults have more life experience and have developed better coping strategies, whereas a teenager may simply abuse substances to cope with the complicated stresses of life.
Also, adults are generally more aware of the harm substance abuse can cause, whereas teenagers can be completely oblivious or just vaguely aware. Another factor that plays a main role in many teenage drug addictions is problems in the family, notably divorce, cases of abuse, and bereavements.
Family issues (especially in cases of abuse) make treatment incredibly difficult as help from family is often needed to address substance abuse issues in teenagers. Alongside family issues, peer pressure is also a major factor in teenage drug addiction.
Teenagers are much more susceptible to social pressure than adults, so peer pressure plays a more significant role in teenage drug addiction. Similarly to peer pressure, having a parent that is addicted to drugs can also influence a teenager’s drug addiction, as the child/teenager sees that is how the parent deals with their problems so they follow suit.
The teenager also usually has easier access to drugs if they have an addicted parent, which also plays a part in drug addiction developing in teenagers.
Academic failure can also play a big part in teenage drug addiction, as success in an academic setting is seen as a major step in being a ‘successful adult’, so failing in this regard can destroy a teenager’s self-esteem which can make them turn to drugs to temporarily eliminate the pain and feelings of shame.
If you or someone you care about is suffering from drug addiction during their teenage years it is best to talk to a trusted teacher or close friend as they will be able to organise a referral to a teenage rehab clinic or a doctor.
Overcoming any negative emotions you may have about seeking help isn’t easy, but services provided by your doctor or a teenage rehab clinic can turn your life around by beginning to break the cycle and avoid potentially years of poverty and drug addiction.
Due to the young age of a teenage addict, the consequences of drug addiction can be incredibly serious, far more serious than that of an adult, despite adult drug addiction also being a serious problem.
One of the main consequences are legal consequences, this can be a result of the possession of the illegal drug, crimes committed to acquire the drug, or even crimes committed while under the influence of the drug.
This can lead to the individual being unable to find work because of criminal convictions or because of extensive gaps on their CV. There are also major health concerns related to teenage drug addiction, both withdrawal symptoms and general health problems that can be brought on or exacerbated by drug misuse.
And in serious cases, teenage drug abuse can lead to death, either directly from an overdose, or indirectly due to reckless and dangerous behaviour that drug misuse can encourage.
One of the early warning signs that are easy to spot is poor behaviour in the classroom. Teenage addicts will often find it hard to control their behaviour in the classroom as their drug abuse will often stem from an inability to stay in control.
Another early warning sign that is a little more difficult to spot is isolation. An isolated teenager is not necessarily addicted to drugs, but this can be the case, particularly with teenagers that suddenly become isolated.
To an extent, any negative change in behaviour can be an early warning sign of teenage drug addiction. A more obvious sign that a teenager is addicted to drugs is withdrawal symptoms like shaking and irregular pupils.
If you notice any of these signs in either yourself or in someone you care about, the best thing to do is to check into a teenage rehab centre or consult your doctor.
Or you can talk to a parent or local community support officer. It is best to do this as soon as possible, as early prevention ensures a far better chance of success and a fulfilling life afterwards.
There are many drug and alcohol rehabs in London that are specially geared toward treating young people, as young people have more immediate needs compared to adults and they need a safe space to deal with their problems away from the adult world.
Some clinics are solely focused on teenage addiction, while others, like Rehab 4 Addiction, have wings and sections that are specially dedicated to treating teenage drug addiction.
The programmes in both types of facilities are similar, as the fundamentals of both teenage and adult addiction are the same; the main task is identifying the triggers and eventually defeating them.
This is of course not an easy task, which is why admission into a rehab facility is always recommended, as unfortunately, many individuals that attempt to get clean at home fail, especially when the drug addiction is quite serious or has gone on for some time.
For more information, contact our helpline today on 0800 140 4690, or via our online web form.