We tell or children when they’re little not to ever take candy from strangers, walk on the street, or to ever use drugs. But, while your child may have never gotten in a strange, white van for a lollipop or ran out in the road to get her roll-away basketball, she may have begun to abuse drugs or alcohol. While this is a hard pill to swallow as a parent, know that this is not your fault. And, there are reasons why teenagers begin to use drugs or alcohol, and none of them have to do with parents! So, if you think that your daughter is struggling with teen drug abuse, don’t lose hope. Learning more about addiction and how recovery works can help both you as a parent and your child, as you learn how to approach the issue and get her the help she needs.
In this article, we discover the most common reasons why teens may start to use drugs or alcohol. And, go on to develop an addiction. Plus, we offer ways that parents can look to help their children struggling with teen drug abuse.
Certainly, when people think of teen drug abuse, they imagine that they’ve been peer pressured into using. Basically, peer pressure is when teens may be influenced by peers, intimate partners, or even family members to use drugs or drink. Obviously, a setting that includes peer pressure are often parties and social gatherings that include the use of drugs or alcohol. Here, teens may be introduced to party drugs like cocaine, marijuana, alcohol, MDMA, and more. And, while teens that try drugs due to social pressure may use party drugs at first, they can end up using more addictive, harmful drugs later as a result.
When people are in a setting where drug abuse is not only accepted but the norm, they are at a higher risk of developing drug dependence. Basically, an enabling environment would be one in which parents and older siblings abuse drugs or alcohol, as teens look up to their parents and older siblings. Another reason for an enabling environment is one which doesn’t set boundaries. For example, if a teen gets away with skipping class, getting bad grades, and skipping meals, they may be more willing to continue these behaviors. So, teenagers that are in settings without strong parental guidance or instruction may be at a higher risk for experimenting with drug abuse.
Teenagers that have family members that struggle with addiction may be more at risk for developing an addiction. This is because addiction has genetic factors. Many may believe that addiction is the result of a choice. However, it’s not. In fact, studies show that up to 50% of addiction is due to genetic factors. So, those who have addictive parents or other close family members are up to 50% more likely to develop an addiction themselves.
One of the most common reasons for teen drug abuse is a mental health issue. During the teenage years, individuals may be even more at risk for developing mental health issues. And may be affected by hormones and ranging emotions during puberty. To deal with the symptoms of mental health issues or even emotions during puberty, teenagers may reach to drugs and alcohol to manage and balance these emotions. However, when teenagers use drugs or alcohol to ease emotions for a while, they raise their risk of developing an addiction.
Teenagers may be more susceptible to try drugs or alcohol if they’re going through a major life change or traumatic situation. Change and abuse can be hard. So, many, even teens, look to drugs or alcohol as a way to escape. However, doing this over the long term can lead to the development of drug abuse disorder.
Does a teen in your life struggle with drug abuse for whatever reason? Fortunately, there is help for your teenager through drug abuse treatment. Here at Willow Place for Women, we help women and teens struggling with addiction, trauma, and eating disorders seek healthy lifestyles in recovery. If you need help getting your teenager to treatment, contact us today!