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Adolescence and Drug Abuse - Overview, Effects

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Adolescence and Drug Abuse - Overview, Effects

Edited By Team Careers360 | Updated on Feb 02, 2024 09:58 AM IST

The abuse of drugs and other substances by teenagers is very common nowadays. This may lead to harmful consequences. 50% of deaths by accidents or suicide are caused by drug abuse in the age range of 15-24 years. Drugs and other substances like alcohol or weed also cause physical and sexual abnormalities, which trigger the person to assault or rape.

Experiences like abstinence (also, non-use), experimentation, regular use, abuse, and dependency are causes that lead to terrible addiction. Drug abuse also leads to mental health problems like anxiety and depression. Some teenagers use drugs due to peer pressure.

Marijuana, cocaine, hallucinogens, and heroin are some of the more dangerous forms of addictive drugs. The adolescence period is very sensitive for teenagers, and social pressure makes them indecisive about some life-changing decisions.

Drug abuse and other substance abuse tend to be the most terrible health problems worldwide. According to the reports of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), approximately 5 percent of the total population took illegal drugs in 2010, and 0.6 percent of the total adult population can be classified as regular drug users.

According to an international survey, drug abuse causes 2.5 million deaths every year. It causes a tremendous burden on society, as the calculated costs to treat drug abuse account for about $200-$250 billion, which equals 0.3 to 0.4 percent of the global GDP.

A family history of drug abuse can create a pattern for serious abuse or dependency in teenagers. There is no absolute prediction as to who will abuse drugs. Therefore, physicians suggest not trying any substance that may lead to addiction. The ill effects can be prevented by minimising the risk factors and taking protective factors into consideration.

There are studies that show a link between adolescent drug abuse and negative adult outcomes. Therefore, it is preferred that the real problem start at an early age. This may cause intentional fatalities and higher death rates at the age of 15 -25 years.

Adolescent Drug Abuse

Adolescence is always associated with drug abuse. Adolescence is the period in one’s life that links childhood and adulthood. Teenage falls between 12 and 18 years old, which is usually referred to as the “adolescent age.”

The adolescent period of life is very sensitive to the shaping of a healthy life, both physically and psychologically. Many external and internal forces influence their actions. They become vulnerable to drug use due to hormonal and situational changes. It is highly likely that they might get addicted to drugs once they come into contact with alcohol and drugs, which results in abuse.

During this crucial stage of life, peer pressure and stress may give rise to one’s addiction to drugs. This will hamper one’s physical and psychological function over time.

Alcohol and Drug Abuse

Addiction is the feeling of wanting more and more of the substance. A feeling of euphoria is caused by the consumption of drugs and alcohol. They become habituated to this sense of joy and start taking more drugs and alcohol. The body increases its tolerance level due to the use of drugs and the frequent use of alcohol.

As a result, people take more drugs to feel better or even when they aren't needed. This habit makes the person repeat the cycle and causes addiction.

To stay away from this addiction requires strong willpower, and this is better to initiate at an early age. Raising a teenager is very challenging, and the relationship between the parents and the teenager is the most crucial part of the teen’s journey. Bad family history, separation between the parents, and ill-treatment among family members are some risk factors that lead to substance abuse in teens.

Friendship groups and family members are the most important factors that influence one’s habits. The first signs of addiction are bad signs such as increased use of a certain drug or weed.

Causes

Substance abuse is caused over a period of time, and the causes may vary from person to person. Some factors that increase the risk of substance abuse include:

  • Lack of parental support

  • The communication gap between parents and teens

  • Poor relationship management or lack of quality time

  • Severe history of the discipline and excessive strictness

  • Family and relative issues

  • Parental habits of alcoholism or drug use

  • Impulsive behaviour of parents

  • The psychological distress caused by academics

  • Difficulty in attaining emotional stability

  • Use by friends and family groups

  • Useful ideas with a low risk of harm

Indications of Abuse

One must observe very carefully, and the little details in a teen's life should not be ignored by the parents. The following are general signs of trouble to look for in a person:

  • Evidence of drug use in the form of physical shreds

  • Poor grades in academics or lack of interest in studies

  • Physical distancing or signs of depression and fatigue

  • Change in behaviour

  • Irritability and a change in attitude inside the house

  • Decrease in personal appearance in front of others

  • Physical changes include changes in eye colour, frequent sore throats, weight loss, etc.

  • Mood swings are quick and terrible, as are eating and sleeping habits.

  • Memory issue or lack of interest in facts.

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Right Treatment

There are forms of family therapy that evidently work for adolescent drug abuse.Therapy focuses on important aspects of the teen's life, such as their relationships with their parents. It is very crucial for the parents to get involved in the treatment, as support is an essential part of the process.

Consequences of Teen Drug Abuse

Adolescence that starts getting used to drug abuse can suffer from all sorts of problems, ranging from health issues to relationship problems.

  • It causes negative effects on judgements and causes poor interactions.

  • Leads to unsafe sex or pregnancy at a young age.

  • It may lead to mental health disorders like depression and anxiety.

  • It leads to reckless driving while abused.

  • Leads to poor performance in academics.

  • Intravenous consumption may cause the spread of infectious diseases like AIDS due to the use of the same syringe.

  • May cause disruption of vital organs like the kidneys.

Health Effects

Health effects due to different types of drug abuse are discussed below:

  • Cocaine use may cause seizures or a heart attack.
  • Ecstasy consumption causes liver failure.
  • Inhalants, if used for a long time, may cause lung and liver problems.
  • Marijuana abuse leads to memory loss or loss of concentration.
  • Opioids cause respiratory distress.
  • Methamphetamine consumption increases the risk of psychotic behaviours.
  • The use of electronic cigarettes leads to nicotine addiction.

Prevention and Control

Some of the preventive measures that can be taken to control drug abuse are discussed as follows:

  1. The most effective ways to deal with alcohol and drug abuse are counselling and education.

  2. To break the habit, one must avoid peer pressure. Utmost support from family and friends can make phenomenal changes in drug abuse patients.

  3. Seeking help from rehabilitation centres can make changes in their lives by teaching them to control the negative impulse to use drugs.

Prevention Programs

Successful interactive methods and prevention programmes are incorporated to prevent behavioural changes in drug abuse patients. This can be done through the family, college, clubs, or healthcare centres.

  1. Prevention through family programmes increases family bonding. It tends to eliminate the risk factors for adolescents abusing drugs. Here, the focus is given to enhancing family bonding, parenting skills, communication, and changing parental behaviours towards teenagers.

One such example of a family programme is multidimensional family therapy (MDFT). It focuses on the development of effective coping and problem-solving skills in young people.It enhances decision-making and helps in the smooth functioning of the family.

  1. Other than family programs, there are community and school prevention programmes that emphasise addressing risk factors for later substance abuse, which include early aggression or academic dropout.

One example of a community and school prevention programme is Reconnecting Youth (RY), which is a programme for high school students with poor school achievement and the chance of dropping out. Signs of substance abuse, depression, or suicidal behaviors are screened to perfection.

Conclusion:

There are many who lose their lives to drug abuse. Although the magnitude is large and complicated, the substance abuse problem can be decreased with proper measures and diagnosis from physicians and family members. Protective factors must be enhanced through family, school, and community prevention programs, and we must strategize for the cause in a standard manner.

Frequently Asked Question (FAQs)

1. Define addiction.

Wanting the substance, feeling, or activity is a chronic problem. Addiction tends to be a physiological or psychological reliance on a substance. It causes detrimental effects upon withdrawal or abstinence.

2. Discuss the goals of the Reconnecting Youth (RY) Program.

Goals of the RY program include increasing school performance, building strong emotional perspectives, and correcting drug abuse.

3. What do you mean by “withdrawal syndrome?”

Withdrawal syndrome occurs when a person discontinues or reduces the use of drugs and suffers from physiological dependence on the substance.

4. Can drug abuse lead to the spread of infectious diseases?

Yes, sharing the same syringe with partners or friends for drug use can cause the spread of infectious diseases like AIDS.

5. Is there an age limit for suffering from drug addiction?

Drug abuse may occur at any age or to anyone, but it is more frequent in adolescents due to various factors like changes in schools or the college environment, peer pressure, or family problems.

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An Automation Test Engineer job involves executing automated test scripts. He or she identifies the project’s problems and troubleshoots them. The role involves documenting the defect using management tools. He or she works with the application team in order to resolve any issues arising during the testing process. 

2 Jobs Available
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