Drugs and alcohol is a significant issue for many concerned parents of adolescents. Since teen years are the quintessential time in life to explore and experiment with drugs and alcohol, naturally there might be a concern that experimentation might lead to addiction. However, there are some important facts about drinking and drug use that parents should know before assuming the worst.
What Contributes to Addiction?
For instance, there are certain contributing factors that might make teens more vulnerable to addiction. Predisposing factors that can place a teen at risk for addiction include:
- Learning disabilities
- Concurring mental illness
- High stress
- Inadequate coping skills
- Lack of support at home or school
- Dysfunctional family
- Lack of impulse control
Can Circumstantial Factors Contribute?
At the same time, there might also be circumstantial factors to consider regarding the dangers of drug use and drinking by teens. Certain circumstantial factors include:
- Divorce of parents
- A move away from old friends
- Loss of a close friend or relative
- Breakup with a boyfriend or girlfriend
- Facing a physical illness
- Or another significant loss
Although at first, a teen might be drawn to experimental or recreational use of drugs or alcohol, there is a point in which casual drug use and recreational drinking turn into an addiction. And the above named factors can contribute to a transition between experimental substance use and regular use of drugs or alcohol. Of course, regular use can in turn lead to addiction.
Adolescents are already at particularly high risk for addiction because of the developmental stage they are in. An addiction can change the brain in fundamental ways, and because teens’ brains are still in development, this could lead to serious consequences.
Furthermore, there are still additional factors that parents and caregivers should consider. The following can also influence a teen’s ability to say no to the regular use of drugs:
- his or her level of maturity
- feeling identified with the glamour of using drugs
- having a peer group that identifies with drug use and drinking
- feeling pressure by friends to drink or use drugs in order feel accepted
All of the above factors play a significant role in a teen’s ability to avoid regular use of drugs and alcohol. Although experimentation with drugs and alcohol itself can be risky (because it might be enough for a teen to want to keep using), it’s regular use of alcohol and drugs that can create the circumstances for addiction.
It’s important for parents and caregivers to maintain and positive and loving relationship with their teen. Alongside this, within a healthy parent-teen relationship, many conversations about the dangers of drugs and drinking can also prevent a teen from putting themselves at risk for addiction.
If parents feel that their relationship with their teen needs improving, they can always call upon the support of a mental health professional. A therapist or psychologist can both facilitate strengthening the parent-teen relationship as well as talk to a teen about the pros and cons of drugs and drinking.
Because there are so many factors that can contribute to teen addiction, having professional support can help prevent regular substance use and addiction.