Teen Depression and Drug Use
If you have discovered your child or teen is drinking alcohol or doing drugs, it’s normal to feel upset, angry, and worried. Underage drinking and drug use can have serious implications that may not show up until later in your child’s life. Using it at a young age can impact how a teen’s brain develops, disrupt their sleeping patterns, delay puberty, make it harder to concentrate at school, and even increase their risk for liver and heart disease, high blood pressure, and certain types of cancer.
On top of that, there are also emotional and behavioral consequences to underage drinking. Alcohol use can affect a teen’s mood and personality, trigger depression, anxiety, or suicidal thoughts, and lead to an increase in risky behavior such as driving while impaired, having unprotected sex, fighting, stealing, or skipping school.
Kids and teens are more likely to binge drink, use drugs, and are more vulnerable to developing depression than adults. Experts believe this may be because the pleasure center of a teen’s brain matures before their capacity to make sound decisions. In other words, they’re able to experience pleasure from alcohol before they’re able to make the right choices about when and how much to drink. This can lead them to do things that are at best embarrassing, at worst life-threatening to themselves or others. If drug and alcohol abuse is prevalent, it can be very difficult to find an institution in the US, where a teen or young adult can be held and given the crucial time needed for their bodies to detox from the substance. There will also need to be psychological evaluations and therapy to address if there is an underlying mental disorder.
While parenting an adolescent is rarely easy, it’s important to remember that you can still have a major impact on the choices your child makes, especially during their preteen and early teen years. With these guidelines, you can find the best way to talk to your child about alcohol/drugs, address any underlying problems, and help them to make smarter choices in the future.
Why Kids and Teens Drink
The adolescent years can be a time of great upheaval. The physical and hormonal changes can create emotional ups and downs as kids struggle to assert their independence and establish their own identities. According to United States government statistics, by age 15, nearly 30% of kids have had at least one drink, and by age 18, that figure leaps to almost 60%. Similar patterns are reported in other countries.
While many teens will try alcohol at some point out of curiosity or as an act of rebellion or defiance, there is no single reason why some decide to drink. The more you understand potential reasons for underage alcohol use, the easier it will be to talk to your child about the dangers and identify any red flags in their behavior.
Reasons, why teens drink, include:
- Peer pressure
- Environmental influences
- To cope with an underlying problem
- To appear older, more independent
- They lack parental boundaries
If you have a teen that needs rehabilitation from drugs, contact us, and we can help your family recover.