Teen addiction tends to side track the normal developmental processes that should take place during the teenage years. For teenagers, life should be about developing an individual identity, finding their place among peers, and establishing loyal friendships. Adolescence is a time for trying new things. Teens use drugs for many reasons, including curiosity, because it feels good, to reduce stress, to feel grown up or to fit in. It is difficult to know which teens will experiment and stop and which will develop serious problems. When teenager’s enthusiastic spirit gets sidetracked by drugs, something quite unpleasant is in store for them.
Teen addictions and drugs are very deceptive. All drugs—nicotine, alcohol, inhalants, prescription drugs, and illegal substances— entice the teen user. Some seem to offer a sense of belonging or sophistication, popularity, or a novel experience. Others offer euphoria, relaxation, stimulation, or a “high.” Although drugs may actually deliver on that promise for a while, eventually teens who abuse drugs find themselves experiencing the negative effects of drug use. Aside from the more harmful physical effects of teen addictions, teenagers expose themselves to misfortunes such as: depression, loss of driving privileges, public humiliation, reduced social status, and reduced academic failure leading to less future opportunities, etc
Teen addictions may come about in various ways. Teenagers may try legal and illegal drugs. Experimentation with drugs during adolescence happens frequently. Unfortunately, teenagers often don’t make the connection between their actions today and the consequences tomorrow. Often they feel indestructible and immune to the problems that others experience.
Teen addictions to alcohol and tobacco at young ages increase the risk of using other drugs later. Some teens will experiment and stop, or continue to use occasionally, without significant problems. Others will develop a dependency, moving on to more dangerous drugs. This can cause significant damage to themselves and also to others.
Teen addiction to alcohol and drug is more likely for those who:
- * Have family histories of substance abuse
- * who are depressed
- * who have low self-esteem
- * who feel like they don’t fit in or are out of the mainstream