Substance abuse disorders, alcoholism, and addiction don’t discriminate. Although certain factors, such as having a close family member with a history of addiction, can increase your risk of developing a substance abuse disorder, anyone can develop an addiction. Drugs and alcohol are neurotransmitter inhibitors that force your brain to release a powerful and overwhelming rush of pleasurable neurotransmitters whenever you use them. This process creates significant changes to your pleasure and reward center and brain chemistry. These effects are especially pronounced in adolescents, as the human brain continues to mature until the individual is in their late 20s. Addiction can also strain personal and familial relationships, which is why family support plays a central role in recovery.
Teens and Addiction
About 10% of Americans will develop a substance abuse disorder in their lifetime, and teens are no exception. While addiction rates are lower among adolescents and teens when compared to adults, experimental and recreational drug use during adolescence increases your risk of eventually developing an addiction. Drug use is dangerous because all substances carry the potential of causing physical and psychological dependence. Teenagers are still maturing, meaning that they’re more prone to making risky or dangerous decisions than adults. Peer pressure and puberty can also serve as a gateway to recreational drug use. When you use drugs or alcohol, your brain associates the substance with pleasure because the substance forces your brain to release neurotransmitters. For teenagers, this positive reinforcement can make it extremely difficult to control their substance use. While many symptoms of addiction may be hard to identify, drastic changes in behavior and personality are a tell-tale sign of drug and alcohol use. Some other common signs of drug use in teenagers include:
- Losing interest in hobbies
- Poor grades
- Changes in appearance, such as bloodshot eyes or weight loss
- Isolating from friends and family members
- Socializing with friends who use drugs and alcohol
Family Support During Treatment
Addiction impacts the entire family. Thus, family support during substance abuse treatment is especially important. Family support ensures all members of the family have a safe and supportive environment to express thoughts and feelings. Another major benefit of family support programs during recovery is that they help establish healthy boundaries. Addiction can create significant damage to your family, especially because family members can disagree about how to address a loved one’s substance abuse problem. Family support is also an essential way to help your loved one successfully recover. Many treatment programs have family days and offer family counseling, which can be a great way to support healing within the family. Counseling can also include education about addiction and recovery, which can help the entire family understand how to heal from addiction. During recovery, your teen needs to have a strong support network. Understanding how to help your teen when they encounter triggers and cravings can improve your relationship and ensure that the entire family is on the same page during treatment and recovery. Family counseling can also improve problem-solving and communication. Learning how to share your expectations with loved ones and how to handle conflict is a great way to strengthen your family and improve your overall wellbeing.
Finding Help Today
When you or your loved one is battling an addiction, it can feel frustrating, stressful and heartbreaking. Addiction is a powerful family disease that can destroy relationships, trust, and happiness. During addiction, families can argue about how to create healthy boundaries, which can make your home life unbearable. When you or a loved one is recovering from a substance abuse disorder, family support is essential. To find out more about our family support addiction programs, or to explore your treatment options, contact Destinations for Teens today at 877.466.0620. Sources: National Institutes of Health, 10 percent of US adults have drug use disorder at some point in their lives, November 2015, https://www.nih.gov/news-events/news-releases/10-percent-us-adults-have-drug-use-disorder-some-point-their-lives