If you began substance abuse in your teenage years, you may or may not be able to recall the exact reason why you started. Some teens begin abusing substance to fit in, while others use it to cope with upsetting events that are happening at home. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), some teens begin abusing drugs as early as 12 or 13 years old, some even earlier. Early abuse may include substances such as tobacco, alcohol, inhalants, marijuana, and prescription drugs; a teen who begins using these drugs early may later progress to other drug involvement. The NIDA for Teens states that the younger you are when you start using drugs, the greater the chance that you will become addicted later on in life.
There are several reasons why teenagers may partake in substance abuse:
- Genetics – having a family history of substance abuse is always a concern for the likelihood of a teenager struggling with this as well
- Peer pressure – hanging around a group of people who view substance abuse as acceptable behavior is likely to increase the chances of a teenager giving in
- Home environment – violence, abuse, poverty, neglect, and dysfunctional family life at home may cause a teenager to self-medicate with drugs or alcohol
- Geographic location – living in a location that makes drug and alcohol very easily acceptable can increase the likelihood of a teenager abusing them
Substance abuse places teens at risk for more than just physical and development harm; Do Something, an organization that hosts campaigns to help people take action, states that teens who drink heavily are three times more likely to try and hurt themselves through self-harm and attempted suicide than those who do not drink.
If you were a teenager when you began abusing substances, perhaps you can relate to some of these causes and/or instances. If you have children, consider the harmful effects that substance abuse can cause – be a positive role model and show them what it means to be responsible with alcohol and to abstain from drugs. If you have struggled with addiction in the past, show your children what it means to seek help when it’s needed. It’s never too late.
Therapy is a primary component of treatment for rehabilitation from a substance use disorder and/or mental health disorder. Attending treatment with certified clinicians and counselors is critical for a full recovery. At one of New Vista Behavioral Health’s treatment providers, you are receiving exceptional care, held to a higher standard. Our programs result in better outcomes, ensuring a better recovery. For information call us today: 888-316-3665