The link between teenage behavioral problems and addiction
The relationship between teen mental health and substance abuse is clear. One study concluded that of 10,000 adolescents and teens with a mental health disorder, two-thirds developed an alcohol use disorder or substance use disorder. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 14% of college students have allegedly abused prescription drugs and 15% have used illegal drugs. Exploring fabrics in high school can follow a teen into their adult life. If the teen is not being treated for substance abuse or mental illness, he or she may struggle with teen and adult addiction.
Factors like peer pressure allow teens to discover harmful chemicals as a seemingly quick fix for stress, anxiety, and other behavioral problems. Teens with Behavioral Problems Can’t Get Surprising chemically dependent. At best, teens struggling with behavioral issues can seek help from a therapist and address underlying issues that need attention. Worse, teens may turn to drugs and alcohol to ease difficult emotions or mental health problems.
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Behavioral problems attributable to untreated mental disorders can progress to teenage drug use, which spills over into adult drug use. A 2016 study found that half of children with mental disorders eventually become addicted if left untreated. If teens don’t seek treatment for difficult emotions such as depression and anxiety or behavioral problems, he or she is at risk of worsening mental health, which can be the motive for more behavioral problems, self-image problems, and poor coping skills. In addition, the teen may act recklessly, creating lifelong problems and patterns that lead to poor relationships, poor health and organ function, broken family ties, and potentially fatal overdose.
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Behavioral Problems and Addiction in Teens: Risk Factors
Drug abuse and addiction in teens stems from factors such as social and emotional difficulties they experience in personal or academic life. Teens are still developing their personality and self-esteem. Risk factors for teen behavioral problems can have a major impact on a teen’s life in several ways. The CDC noted the following as risk factors associated with: teenage drug abuse:
- Mental health problems
- Poor parental controls
- Disconnected from school
- sexual abuse
- Family rejection
- Parental Allowance of Drug Use
- Low self-esteem
- Poor self-image
Conditions such as ADHD, PTSD, depression and anxiety have increased in the teen population and can contribute to behavioral problems or addiction. Other factors that can increase a teen’s chance of developing a substance use disorder include peer pressure, poor mental health, genetically related mental illness, and untreated trauma. If a teen struggles with any of these conditions and self-medicates with illegal substances, they are more likely to take risks and encourage sexually risky behavior and violence.
Defining and Recognizing Behavioral Problems in Teens
Behavioral problems in teens are all signs of problematic behavior that can directly affect the teen and their future. In addition, these behaviors can affect their academic performance, their friendships and relationships. Because the teen’s brain is still maturing and developing, he or she may experience fear and confusion about how to face challenges.
Parents and loved ones may express concern and experience frustration when their teen experiences behavioral problems. Signs of behavioral problems in teens include:
- Poor academic performance
- Defiance/defiance/undermining behavior
- Changes in appearance
- Changes in personality
- Skip class
- Anxiety or Depression
- Changes in eating habits
- General Mental Health Changes
- Forming new friendships that are a bad influence
- Isolation/feeling that they don’t fit
- Insomnia or oversleeping
Behavioral Problems and Addiction in Teens: What Parents Can Do?
Parents of teens may want to consider: have an intervention if they are concerned about their teen’s substance abuse. An intervention can help the parent connect with the teen in a safe space with the help of an interventionist. In addition, the teen can become more aware of behavior and the impact it has on their loved ones and their lives. Parents and the interventionist can confront teens and give them a chance to make amends. They can become aware of their part (codependency, enabling substance abuse) in their child’s substance abuse and propose consequences and limits. Finally, parents and the interventionist can have conversations about the treatment or therapy needed.
Getting help during COVID-19
With just 30 days in a rehab center, you can get clean and sober, begin therapy, join a support group, and learn ways to manage your cravings.
Teen Treatment and Rehabilitation
Rehab gives teens a chance to prevent substance abuse early before it becomes more problematic. Teens can access one-on-one counseling, which allows for greater self-awareness or group therapy. Some facilities offer family therapy, which further deepens the bonds between family members and their teen. Teens may be given medications such as anti-anxiety drugs or benzodiazepines for alcohol withdrawal. Other needed medications that can help with underlying mental health issues are available. Fortunately, there are teen rehabs that offer unique age specifics therapy. Gender-based facilities for teens can encourage recovery in safe environments for teens. Each facility offers unique and specific treatments, along with hands-on monitoring.
Getting help with teen addiction
Parents can feel relieved to know that help is available for their teens. Teen rehabilitation can put them in touch with care based on their age-specific needs. Contact an expert therapist without risk to talk about facility options.