When Does Experimentation Become an Addiction?
There is a misconception that teenage experimentation of drugs and alcohol is relatively harmless. That to innocently try a drug or drink alcohol is a normal rite of passage into adulthood. The fact of the matter is that there is nothing innocent or safe about someone in adolescence trying drugs or alcohol in any capacity.
Experimentation is defined as when drugs or alcohol are tried in specific circumstances such as teens at a slumber party who get into their parent’s medicine or liquor cabinet. The use of drugs or alcohol is mostly social that is associated with fun or unwinding that is thought to offer little consequence. The only problem with this theory is that no one can really know what will happen to them once they feel the elusive effects that drugs and alcohol provide to a teenager for the first time or any time after.
The main concerns of underage drinking according to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism is that someone who tries drinking before the age of 15 is 4 times more likely to develop a substance abuse disorder and can cause major damage to their brain structure and function.
The problem with discerning when experimentation turns into an addiction is difficult to determine. Most people who have struggled with drug or alcohol addiction are typically unsure as to when they crossed the invisible line that led them into addiction. This line is different for everyone because addiction can happen immediately for some or suspend later into life for others.
The National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse (CASA) states that 9 out of 10 teens who smoke, drink, or use drugs before the age of 18 will end up addicted to those substances. Although not everyone is affected the same when it comes to drugs and alcohol, the warning should be to not try their luck and wind up being addicted to something that started off naively.
The signs of addiction are not always easy to spot within a teen but is necessary for parents to monitor. Talk to teens about the dangers of underage drinking or using and encourage them to find healthier activities to participate that will not stunt their growth in many aspects of their life. Teens are resilient and with the right guidance and motivation can understand the dangers that they raise with simply trying drugs and alcohol for the first time.
If your teenager has developed an addiction to drugs or alcohol, Stonewater Adolescent Recovery Center understands the commitment your son requires in getting help. Our unique treatment was started by our family to aid other families in lifelong recovery lived.
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