Drug Abuse in Adolescents

Adolescence is a critical stage of change and confusion, full of promises and challenges for youngsters and parents alike. They undergo significant changes in biology, cognitive capacity and self-image. When they exhibit complex problems such as abuse of alcohol and other drug substance, delinquent behavior, serious depression or symptoms of psychosis would definitely need family support and guidance more than ever (Snyder, 1998).

The causes of drug abuse and addiction were sought in qualities of the individual and historically have included such things as moral failure, psychological distress, and genetic disposition. Methamphetamine, for example, can cause psychotic delusions including homicidal or suicidal thoughts. Long-term use of the drug can lead to brain damage, similar with Alzheimer’s disease, stroke, or epilepsy.

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Cocaine, on the other hand, could cause complications to heart, lungs, gastrointestinal and nervous system. This would further lead to delinquent behaviors, school dropouts and engagement to premarital sex that would affect not just the teen him/herself but his family, friends and the society as well.
Excessive family conflicts, marital discord, verbal, physical and sexual abuse, early insecure attachment, poor parent/child relationships, lack of parental bonding, poor family management, lack of parenting skills and dysfunctional care giving put stress on teens which makes them vulnerable that could lead to drug abuse.
The media, internets, peer pressure are also significant factors that could influence teens getting involve in drug abuse (Ashery, et al, 2000).
Family-Centered treatment is offered in many outpatient settings in drug abuse treatment fields. These include public-private partnership with private programs delivering services under grants or contracts with Federal, State, or local governments. In these outpatient settings, families are often included in educational programs and individual and multifamily group therapy.
In inpatient settings, adolescents have historically been isolated from their families, often only being allowed to see them during brief visiting hours. Once the adolescent is admitted to an inpatient facility, the family is involved in many treatment activities such as educational presentation and individual and multifamily group therapy.
Other settings are day treatment or partial hospitalization programs and variety of community-based self-help groups that target the families of troubled adolescents (Snyder, 1998).
Drug abuse of adolescents can be prevented through strong economic base, achievement orientation, role adoptability, spirituality, extended family bonds, racial pride, respect and love, resourcefulness, community involvement and family unity (Ashery, et al, 2000).
Rebecca S. Ashery, Elizabeth B. Robertson, Karol L. Kumpfer (2000). Drug Abuse Prevention Through Interventions. DIANE Publishing
Snyder, Wendy (1998). Empowering Families, Helping Adolescents: Family-Centered Treatment of Adolescents with Alcohol, Drug Abuse, and Mental Health Problems
 DIANE Publishing

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