Teens are at risk of developing an addiction for a wide range of reasons. Many statistics from around the United States show that teens are jumping to harder drugs faster than ever before. It’s vital to end teen drug use before it becomes deadly.
Teen Drug Use is Worse than Ever
Different studies show that teens who are using drugs aren’t only using at a much younger age, but they’re also using harder drugs. One study showed that almost 20% of high school seniors have tried meth at least once. Other studies show that the average age of teen
s drinking or smoking pot is no longer high school, but middle school. One of the primary issues with this is that some parents, schools, and communities avoid the topic entirely.
Teens are at a higher risk of developing an addiction to substances because their brains are still developing. The part of the brain that helps with logical decisions and regulates a person’s impulses is called the prefrontal cortex. This part of the brain doesn’t develop until women are in their late 20s, and it’s closer to early 30s for men. Any substance that releases dopamine can make a teen’s mind begin to develop a dependence on substances.
Some of the most common gateway drugs for teens include:
Why Teen Drug Use Happens
Teens are under an immense amount of stress. While adults often think that teens are just being childish or over exaggerating, the reality is that no matter what age you are, your world is your reality. To a teen, the world is stressful. From worrying about grades, to friends, relationships, sports and other activities, it’s a lot. Many teens begin using substances to either fit in with a specific crowd or to manage stress.
Symptoms of mental illness commonly come up during the teenage years. Due to a hole in the education system, teens often don’t what these are or what to do about them. Without knowing what a mental illness looks like, a teen is very likely to turn to drugs or alcohol as a solution. The problem that develops as a result is that the brain begins to think that substances are the only solutions to difficult problems. This is why it’s vital for parents to talk to their teenagers about mental health as well as substance abuse from a young age.
Ending Teen Drug Use
Studies show that the best way to prevent a teen from developing an addiction problem is to educate them and practice open communication. Most teens don’t turn to adults with questions about drugs or alcohol for fear of getting in trouble. This makes teens want to hide their use rather than talking to an adult who can give good advice. The other issue is that the only education many teens have is through the use of scare tactics, which don’t work.
Programs that are about showing teens the dangers of drug and alcohol use are highly unsuccessful. The idea is that the teens will accept these truths at face value, but the reality is that they can’t. Many teens see their pop icons drinking and using drugs, so they don’t see how these substances are bad. When teens receive better educations, they’re more likely to make the right decisions.
If you think your teen has a problem, 1st Step Behavioral Health can help him or her with drug addiction treatment. Addiction is progressive, so your teen has a better chance of getting clean the earlier you catch the addiction. We provide our clients with many programs, including individual and group therapy. Don’t wait another day to get your teen help. Call us today at (866) 319-6126 for more information about teen drug use and recovery.