Teen alcohol and drug abuse is a bigger issue in the United States now than ever before. In the last 30 days alone, almost 10 million American children between 12 and 20 have reported consumption of alcohol, and more than half of all American children and teenagers engage in underage drinking. The statistics related to drug use are just as shocking. About 36.4% of high school seniors have used marijuana illegally, 11.3% have used synthetic marijuana like k2 or Spice, and 7.5% have taken Vicodin for non-medicinal purposes.
Though many adolescents are certain that alcohol and drug addiction could never happen to them, such idealistic assumptions are far from the truth. Teen alcohol and drug abuse often leads to teenage drug addiction and alcoholism, and the effects aren’t pretty.
The Effects of Drug Addiction
Different drugs affect the body in different ways, with some even changing the body and brain for the rest of a user’s life. One thing they do tend to have in common is a tendency to target the brain’s reward system, flooding the circuit with dopamine. They change the way the brain performs its job, affecting the parts that regulate movement, emotion, cognition, motivation, and pleasure, ultimately leading to addiction. Once addicted, a user will often experience the following scary effects:
- Injury: More deaths, illnesses, and disabilities stem from substance abuse than from any other preventable health condition. In fact, one in four deaths is attributable to illegal drug use.
- Health Problems: Drug addiction can weaken the immune system and can cause cardiovascular conditions, nausea and vomiting, liver failure, seizure, stroke, brain damage, and global body changes like breast development in men.
- Behavioral Problems: Addicted users often experience paranoia, aggressiveness, hallucinations, impaired judgment, impulsiveness, and loss of self-control.
- Birth Defects: About four percent of pregnant women use illicit drugs, sometimes causing low birthweight, premature delivery, infant withdrawal, learning and behavioral difficulty, and even miscarriage.
The Effects of Alcohol Addiction
- Damage to Vital Organs: Alcohol abuse can cause irreversible damage to the liver, nervous system, heart, stomach, intestines, and brain.
- Illness and Chronic Conditions: Many alcoholics attribute these effects to other conditions, though alcohol really is often the root cause of high blood pressure, sexual problems, cancer, stomach problems, and osteoporosis.
- Relational and Psychological Effects: Alcoholism often results in severe social consequences like job termination as a result of drunkenness or work hangovers, financial difficulty, domestic violence, marital conflict, legal trouble, isolation from love ones, and sometimes eating disorders.
Fortunately, help is out there. Teen alcohol and drug abuse rehab facilities are staffed by professionals ready to help adolescents detox and beat addiction. It’s a difficult choice for families to make, but sometimes teen drug rehab is the best option for really addressing a problem.