7 Causes of Teenage Alcoholism and Teenage Drug Abuse
Posted Dec 19 2010 11:35am
Teenage alcoholism and teenage drug abuse can quickly snuff out the spark of promise of our children having a happy and fulfilling life. “Experimenting” with alcohol and drugs can start out as innocent, but over time progress to a disease that can actually threaten your teen’s life. Your life, as parents, will be turned upside down. Are you wondering why teenage substance abuse is part of your life?
Here are the 7 main causes of teenage alcoholism and teenage drug abuse:
1. Genetics/parental modeling: If you see your parents drink, you are much more likely to drink. If one or both of your parents is an alcoholic and you drink before the age of 21, you are 3-4 times more likely to become a serious alcoholic later in life.
2. The developing brain is primed for risk-taking, impulsivity, and experimenting during the teenage years.
3. Peer pressure. Teens want to belong to a group and are influenced to a great degree by the company they keep. If their friends drink and you drugs, they are more vulnerable to succumb to trying drugs and alcohol.
4. Too much unstructured time. As a psychiatrist that treats a lot of addiction in young folks, I can’t stress this risk factor enough! The teens that don’t have much homework, that do not participate actively in sports or music or even a Church youth group, deal with “boredom” by using drugs and alcohol.
5. Lack of supervision. Parents who are both working and not keeping close tabs on their teens can be in for a big surprise. Teens rebel and will try to get away with anything they can if they are not accountable.
6. Self-medicating depression, anxiety, and attention deficit disorder. If your teen is struggling, take them to a professional. A therapist will help them develop healthy coping skills and a psychiatrist will treat any underlying psychiatric disorder so your teen is much less likely to self-medicate with drugs and alcohol.
7. Reaction to a break-up. Teens will often go though a self destructive period after a break-up. They will turn to drugs and alcohol as a way to numb themselves and escape from “bad feelings”.
Be vigilant of these 7 causes. Support your teen the best you can through this rocky period. Keep a pulse on your teen’s life. Be there for them, show caring, don’t criticize, be a good role model, and be open to getting them the help they need if teenage substance abuse is part of their life.
Parents have a great deal of influence on their teen or young adult child. Don’t under estimate this.