Teen drug and alcohol use has plagued youths in the U.S. for decades. Beyond the damage that substance abuse can do to a developing adolescent’s physical and mental health, substance use at a young age may more quickly develop into an addiction and can have serious implications on adult sobriety.
Substance Use as a Teen Leads to Substance Dependence as an Adult
Roughly two-thirds of people with Substance Abuse Disorder(SAD) began using drugs or alcohol before age 18, according to the National Institute on Drugs and Alcohol. Peer pressure and stress are often factors in teen drug use, and after high school, many young adults face a lot of temptations in college.
Some people may have a genetic predisposition for addiction, as well. Mental health disorders and risk-taking behavior may also be passed down from parent to child. Children of addicts often develop addiction issues themselves. However, anyone may become addicted, even without a family history of addiction.
Statistics On Teen Substance Use
The Department of Health and Human Services conducted a survey in 2017, which found that 30% of high school students had drunk alcohol within the last month. Furthermore, 36% of students reported using marijuana at least once. These statistics show that at least a third of U.S. teens self-report using drugs and alcohol.
Many students in the survey, 37%, also noted that at least one friend of theirs went on to develop an addiction to drugs or alcohol. Underage substance use is one of the most significant predictors of whether or not someone will go on to struggle with addiction in adulthood. Unfortunately, drug or alcohol use isn’t something that most people grow out of. However, the frequency of substance use and the severity of a teen’s addiction may impact their ability to maintain sobriety later in adulthood.
How Does Teen Substance Use Impact Addiction Later in Life?
Some teens are able to go through a period of experimentation with drugs or alcohol and not develop addiction issues later in life. However, this is the minority of people. Addiction is a four-stage sliding scale, and going from habitual use to addictive use is a process that many people don’t realize until it’s too late.
Teen drug and alcohol use makes people more likely to develop SAD, as well as placing them more at risk of developing mental health concerns like anxiety and depression. Or, the substances may exacerbate a pre-existing anxiety disorder. Without early intervention and mental health treatment, these teens may become dependent on drugs or alcohol to self-medicate and manage their disorder.
The Benefits of Early Intervention
If your adolescent is using alcohol or drugs now, they aren’t doomed to a future of addiction. Early intervention can help prevent the brain from re-wiring itself to depend on drugs or alcohol or comfort or pleasure. The best way to prevent a teen from developing SAD in adulthood is to seek early treatment, beginning the process before the situation gets worse.
If you’re concerned about your child’s drug or alcohol use, we can help. Contact Hickory treatment Centers today for a confidential assessment and to learn more about your options for adolescent recovery. We offer addiction treatment programs that can set our clients up for long-term success in recovery.