The body and brain of the average teen goes through explosive growth and change. This change and increased expectations and pressures to succeed make teenagers feel overwhelmed and anxious. To cope with these changes, some teens turn to substances. What starts out as experimentation often snowballs into full-blown addiction at a quicker rate than adults. This often raises the following question:
Why are teens more vulnerable to addiction?
This article will further explore why teens are more at risk of addiction than adults. We will also see how common teen addiction is and where you can find addiction treatment if your son or daughter is struggling with substance abuse. If your teen needs help with an addiction program, Thrive Teen Treatment can help! Call us today to learn more about our mental health services for teens in California.
If you are a parent of a teenager, you are very aware that drug use and drug addiction in teens has been an ongoing issue for decades. In fact, teen substance use was a major health and social issue when you were a teenager. While you know that teen drug use is commonplace, just how common is teen addiction? The following statistics provided by the National Center for Drug Abuse Statistics (NCDAS) paint an alarming picture:
Additionally, studies have shown that 15% of 18-year-olds meet the diagnostic criteria for alcohol abuse while 16% of 18-year-olds meet the criteria for drug abuse.
As stated in the introduction, teens experience exponential growth in brain and body development, with full maturation being reached by age 25. Teas abusing drugs and alcohol during this critical development period often leads to cognitive and behavioral problems that last well into adulthood. It is also important to note that drug and alcohol addiction leads to an increase in impulsive risk-taking behavior and develops serious health issues.
To answer the question of why teens are more vulnerable to addiction, the main reason is brain development. As already mentioned, the teen years are marked by enormous brain growth. While the brain as a whole undergoes rapid development, this growth is more pronounced in areas such as the nucleus accumbens. This area of the brain is associated with decision-making, self-control, and is the brain’s reward center. When teens use drugs, it is extremely reinforcing—and when it affects this area of the brain, this reinforcement is magnified more when compared to the adult brain.
When teens use drugs over and over again to recreate pleasurable feelings, they seek immediate gratification and don’t think about long-term consequences. Also, teens are much more likely to engage in risky behavior while on substances or seeking out substances. Other factors why teens are more vulnerable to addiction include:
Since teens are more at risk for addiction than adults, it is critical to find specialized professional drug treatment.
If your teen son or daughter is fighting a losing battle against addiction, a teen addiction treatment program will give them and your family the tools need to address and overcome the issue. You must find a teen program with a proven track record of success dealing with various substances. Importantly, staff must have years of experience in understanding the unique and specific needs of teenagers. Teen treatment programs must also be evidence-based, extensively tested, and individualized to fit the unique and particular needs of all clients. If you are looking for teen therapy in Los Angeles, Teen Thrive Treatment has a long-standing reputation as a premier teen drug treatment facility. Our teen treatment programs are a fusion of modern and traditional therapy practices. Our goal is to focus on each client’s specific issues and needs, and we empower teens and their families to overcome substance abuse and regain health and stability. Call Thrive Teen today and help your son or daughter become healthy and happy.