What Influences Teen Addiction 

Drug use is common among teenagers. By late adolescence, one study published in the Archives of General Psychiatry showed that as many as 78 percent of teens have abused alcohol and over 40 percent have used other drugs. No teenager is immune to the possibility of becoming a person with substance use disorder at this impressionable and developmentally risky time of his or her lives.

Addiction has no single cause, but rather is the result of a combination of factors that influence and therefore increase the possibility of substance abuse. Many commonly known risk factors for developing addiction include family history of substance abuse, physical or mental traumas, impulsive behavior disorders and having friends who are experimenting with drugs or alcohol. Other important factors are not so obvious and perhaps contribute to the growing problem of teenage substance abuse and addiction.

Teens who do not have a close relationship with their parents, or who receive little parental monitoring or supervision, have an increased risk of addiction. Although parents want to trust teens, they need to remember that young people need boundaries and supervision, which can give them the support they may need to counter peer pressure. Other related risk factors for development of substance abuse include low or unrealistically high parental expectations and high levels of family conflict.

A teen who believes that drugs and alcohol are not very harmful or that their parents will understand experimentation are far more likely to become addicted to drugs. Prescription drug abuse has been rising among teens, and they often believe these drugs are safe because doctors prescribe them. Frequently teens abuse prescription drugs from the medicine cabinet in their home or the homes of friends.

Youth also tend to look to celebrities to decide what is cool or trendy. Research increasingly shows that media influences and celebrity role models play a key role by glamorizing drug use. Parents can help by educating and keeping the lines of communication open with their children. Talk to them. Even in the teenage years, parents are extremely influential.

By taking steps to shift the balance in favor of protection rather than risk, teens can be taught how to avoid a lifetime struggle with addiction. A quality addiction treatment center can provide help to families dealing with substance abuse and give more information.