How Prevalent Is Drug and Alcohol Abuse Among Teens?

Adolescence is a time of significant transition. Teens are preoccupied with social pressures and they are trying to fit in at school. They’re also beginning to assert their independence more vigorously. During adolescence, an individual is at a high risk of experimenting with drugs and alcohol. For some teens, in Fort Lauderdale, substance abuse follows experimentation. If you suspect that your teen may be engaging in alcohol or drug abuse, you can find the help your family needs at a rehab facility.

Alcohol

The National Institute on Drug Abuse conducts an annual Monitoring the Future (MTF) survey of U.S. students in eighth, 10 th, and 12 th grade to evaluate their drug use and attitudes toward drugs. The good news is that alcohol use among this demographic has declined significantly over the past five years. According to the organization, 41.2% of 12 th grade students tried alcohol in one reported month during 2010. The most recent survey reflects that 35.3% of 12 th graders had tried alcohol. There was also a decline in the percentage of 10 th graders who reported daily use of alcohol and an overall drop in the number of binge drinkers among 10 th and 12 th graders. This is encouraging news for combating alcoholism in the next generation, but these trends in underage drinking could still use major improvements.

Opioids

The same MTF survey reports that opioid use among teens is also on a downward trend. This includes narcotic pain relievers and heroin. In fact, since the MTF survey began, heroin use is at an all-time low among all ages surveyed. Despite an increase in the use of heroin by adults, the MTF survey reports that the majority of teens disapprove of even occasional heroin use.

Marijuana

Now that many states have passed laws that allow medical and recreational marijuana use among adults, one major concern was that this trend would encourage marijuana abuse among teens. The MTF survey reveals that although marijuana use has not declined among teens, it also has not increased. Over the past five years, marijuana abuse has held steady among eighth, 10 th , and 12 th graders. More than half of 12 th graders surveyed reported disapproving of regular marijuana abuse.

When to Worry About Teenage Drinking

Underage drinking is a rampant problem. According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, 35.1% of 15 year olds have had at least one drink and 14.2% of people aged 12 to 20 report binge drinking. Because underage drinking is so common, parents may take a casual attitude to it, especially if they believe their child only indulges occasionally. However, teenage drinking is dangerous. Every year, over 4,000 people under age 21 die in alcohol-related incidences, including alcohol poisoning and car crashes. It can also lead to alcoholism and brain development issues. How can you determine if your child has made one mistake with alcohol or needs treatment for alcoholism in Fort Lauderdale? Here are some signs that your teen could be struggling with alcohol abuse.

New School Trouble

Changes in your child’s standing at school could indicate that he or she is abusing alcohol. Your child’s grades may fall, and he or she may begin to have discipline problems in the classroom. Teens who are abusing alcohol frequently lose interest in sports or other extracurricular activities they once enjoyed. Your child may also miss school because of health issues more frequently, often because of alcohol withdrawal symptoms or from having a hangover from overindulging.

Mood Changes

Drinking heavily can cause mood swings in teens, as they cycle repeatedly from intoxicated to sober. You may notice that your teen is increasingly irritable or depressed, or that he or she is withdrawing from family activities or from their usual circle of friends, in favor of a new group of peers. For people struggling with alcoholism, these mood changes can be caused by withdrawal symptoms.

Physical Signs

Sometimes, parents can identify the signs of alcoholism simply by looking for the physical signs of alcohol consumption. Red eyes, slurred speech, and smelling like alcohol are all indicators that you need to discuss drinking with your teen. Teens who are drinking heavily on a regular basis often tend to have poor physical hygiene. Consider talking to an addiction specialist if you need help intervening with your teen’s alcohol use.

The Risk of Prescription Drug Abuse in Young People

For teens, addiction doesn’t necessarily start with abusing illegal drugs. Instead, substance abuse may begin in their parents’ medicine cabinet with prescription medications. Abusing prescription drugs is an increasingly common reason teens need help with addiction near Fort Lauderdale. Watch this video to learn more.

Teens have begun turning to their parents’ pain medications to get high, as well as their own medications for ADHD. They share pain medication, Adderall, and other drugs amongst each other at parties and even at school, to focus before a test or get a boost to get their homework. They often underestimate the dangers of prescription medicines, but in reality, these drugs have very high risks of addiction and can be deadly. Fortunately, treatment in a substance abuse program can help teens who do become addicted recover safely.

Does Early Drinking Increase the Risk of Alcoholism Later in Life?

Among the dangers of early drinking behavior in young people is an increased risk of alcoholism later in life. In addition to seeking treatment for alcoholism in Fort Lauderdale for young people who are abusing alcohol as soon as possible, experts also recommend taking steps to discourage underage drinking before it begins to reduce the risk of alcoholism more effectively.

According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA), people who begin to drink before age 14 have a 47% chance of developing alcoholism in adulthood, compare with 9% of people who being drinking after age 21. The younger people are when they begin drinking, the more likely they are to develop alcoholism, while having a family member who also struggles with alcohol abuse raises the risk even more. People who begin drinking at young age also develop alcohol dependency faster and are more likely to have chronic, relapsing alcoholism problems than people who start drinking later in life.

Exploring the Reach of Heroin Addiction

Heroin addiction, once thought to be confined to the inner cities, has now reached every community and every walk of life. There is no typical person dealing with heroin addiction in Fort Lauderdale. Teens in particular, from all backgrounds, enter rehab to conquer their addiction to heroin.

Watch this video to see how heroin changed the lives of two young adults from suburban Minnesota. These two young people do not fit the mold of what most people envision when they imagine heroin addiction, but they are among the new, younger faces of drug abuse, and in particular, heroin use. Because of the highly addictive nature of heroin, trying the drug once is enough to lead to a pattern of abuse, and only intervention through rehab can help users learn to overcome the intense cravings they experience.

Exploring the Link Between Sexual Assault and Drug Abuse in Teens

Abuse, including sexual assaults, is strongly linked to addiction in both teens and adults. Teens who are the victims of sexual assaults have a higher risk of developing addictions as adults, and they may also turn to substance abuse as a coping mechanism when they are still teens. For teens who been victimized, it’s important to choose a substance abuse program that also offers family counseling or psychotherapy in Fort Lauderdale so that the underlying issues that contributed to the addiction.

Sexual Assault as a Trigger for Drug Use

Sexual abuse, including molestation in the home or assault by a stranger, can be a trigger for addiction for many teens. In order to cope with the repercussions of the abuse, teens may turn to alcohol or drugs. The National Institute on Drug Abuse recognizes being the victim of sexual violence as one of the risk factors for addiction in teens. Teens who were victimized as younger children may also turn to drugs or alcohol during their adolescence because of the impacts of those episodes. Parents who know that their children have been victimized may be able to reduce the risk of future drug abuse by getting therapy for their children when the incident occurs. Teens who enter rehab with histories of sexual assaults are sometimes diagnosed with and treated for post-traumatic stress disorder as a co-occurring condition along their addictions.

Drug Use as a Trigger for Sexual Assault

Teens who use abuse drugs or alcohol also have a higher risk of becoming the victims of sexual assault. The National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence reports that alcohol is a factor in 40% of all violent crimes, and teens who are abusing drugs and alcohol may engage in sexually risky behaviors. Issues with consent are also possible. These incidences may further exacerbate the addition. Through psychotherapy and counseling, rehab centers can address these issues as part of the wider addiction recovery process.

Exploring the Link Between Depression and Drug Use in Teens

Teens who use drugs frequently have a co-occurring mental health problem, like depression, alongside their addictions. There is a particularly tight relationship between depression and teen drug use, and frequently, drug addiction recovery programs for teens incorporate psychotherapy or other mental health counseling services into their treatment plans. The link between depression and drug use in teens is complex, but understanding it can help parents and teens find the right programs for treating addiction in Fort Lauderdale for their needs.

Depression and Addiction Cycle

Researchers are unsure what comes first in teens who suffer from addiction and depression. Does depression increase the risk for drug abuse, or does drug abuse make teens more likely to experience depression? Addiction experts believe that both answers are likely to be true, and that teens who suffer from both addiction and depression come to their diseases in different ways. During psychotherapy in rehab, teens may uncover which disease existed first and contributed to the other, which can help shape their rehab and aftercare plans.

Negative Urgency

For teens whose depression is likely a trigger for their drug abuse, researchers have found that negative urgency is a common thread. Negative urgency is a way of coping with depression symptoms that includes acting rashly without thought of the consequences when faced with severe stress. Teens with depression who use negative urgency behaviors seem to have a higher rate of drug abuse connected to their depression, as they use drugs as coping mechanisms. During rehab, teens with negative urgency traits often work on building coping skills to help prevent relapses.

Drug Use Triggers

For teens who are motivated by peer pressure or other factors when they begin to use drugs, depression can be a result of the addiction. The impact of drug use on their lives in school and their personal relationships can cause stress that leads depressive symptoms. Psychological changes caused by drug abuse and the pressure of cravings can also trigger symptoms of depression.

Why the Teenage Brain Is Susceptible to Addiction

Despite what many people believe, addiction is not a disease that only affects adults. The seeds of addition are often found in adolescence, largely because of the nature of the teenage brain. For this reason, addressing addiction recovery with programs designed for teen drug and teen alcohol counseling near Fort Lauderdale is an important part of breaking the cycle.

Watch this video to learn about how teens’ brains put them at risk for addiction. Research has shown that the DNA in their brains is more open to the addictive nature of nearly any type of drug they use. People who begin drug abuse or alcohol abuse as teens without any intervention are much more likely to develop addictions than people who begin abusing drugs or alcohol as adults.

Setting Goals for Addiction Aftercare

Aftercare is an essential part of addiction recovery. After the initial rehab process, aftercare supports people in recovery as they transition back to their normal lives while maintaining the progress they have made. Setting goals is an important part of aftercare services in Fort Lauderdale so that individuals get the appropriate support for their needs.

For teens recovering from addiction, aftercare goals involve the whole family. These goals may involve a plan for helping teens return to school without turning to drug abuse in times of stress or a strategy for coping with peer pressure, seeing old friends, or visiting old places that can trigger addiction symptoms. Other aftercare services may include goals for ongoing counseling for family members as they rebuild relationships or address issues that contributed to the substance abuse. Each aftercare plan is personalized based on individual needs, but the common goal each plan shares is helping people transition from rehab to normal life with the tools to avoid a relapse.