Are Adolescents Really Abusing Drugs and Alcohol?
Walk into a room of a twelve step program meeting like Alcoholics Anonymous or Narcotics Anonymous and you will likely hear at least one person recount how they started “drinking and drugging” before middle school. Everyone grows up differently. Everyone starts engaging in adult activities at different times. Before their brains or their hormones even have a chance to mature, adolescents begin ‘partying’ like the grown ups, acting in ‘grown up ways’ without any of the grown up mentality of being smart, healthy, responsible, and safe.
Yes, adolescents do abuse drugs and alcohol. How these addictive, mind-altering substances end up in the hands of adolescents is different for every individual child. Some children have parents who are addicted, or another family member. Often they have older siblings who have started experimenting with drugs and alcohol, or they have friends who have older siblings doing the same. Some children are naturally predisposed to impulsive, risk-taking, thrill-seeking behavior which erases the line between right and wrong when drugs and alcohol are offered. Children can be bullied, pressured, teased, or forced into taking their first drink or drug. Depending on their genetics, culture, social environment, and any existing mental health issues, an adolescent will either try substances and walk away or keep trying them until an addiction forms.
The brain is susceptible to addiction at any age. Adolescents are still developing psychologically, not just in their personality and cognitive ability but in the structure and matter of their physical brain. Drugs and alcohol have a serious impact on adolescents who abuse them, altering their brains in a significant way and creating developmental halts which take time to correct.
Drugs and alcohol have always been a threat to our adolescents. Today’s opioid crisis is merely a new development in a familiar storyline of curiosity and poor decision making. What is most important for us as parents is to intervene as early as possible when we suspect our adolescent is abusing mind altering substances or has already become addicted. We can help them save their lives and change their lives, leaving addiction in their early years.
Stonewater Adolescent Recovery Center offers longterm residential care to adolescent and teenage boys struggling with addiction. Our foundation building, life cleansing program bring the family together again in mind, body, and spirit, for total healing. Call us today for information on our clinical programs and academic support system: 1-662-598-4214