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What triggers substance abuse among adolescents?

What triggers substance abuse among adolescents?

Various researches in psychology, human development and other fields suggest that early experiences in an individual’s life indicate how he or she will behave and make decisions in the future. This is called a life-course trajectory. For example, adolescents and young adults who abuse drugs find themselves in such a predicament. Past circumstances and events occurred in the immediate years following their birth or even before they were born may have triggered their inclination toward drugs and alcohol. Considering the above fact, it is essential to understand the risk factors that spike the problem of substance abuse.

Risk factors that can increase substance abuse include the quality of childhood and the environment that can affect one’s life trajectory. One can predict the risk of developing the habit of substance abuse and other problems depending on the child’s experiences in the specific periods of his or her development.

Some of these risk factors are as following:

  • Extreme temperament – Problems with mood and temperament of the child during infancy can set the foundation for problems related to self-regulation in later years. Due to such behavioral problems, such children are at an increased risk of falling into a bad circle of friends and indulging in substance abuse.
  • Insecure attachment – A child who is insecure during his or her first year of life can grow up to become aggressive and withdrawn. Due to aloofness and seclusion from others, such children tend to find solace in substances. This eventually leads to increased dependence on substances and addiction.
  • Uncontrolled aggression – Children aged between two to three years who display high aggressiveness usually witness difficulty in adjusting in preschool days. They can witness problems, such as not lacking acceptance by their peers, getting punished by teachers and performing poorly in academics. These factors play a crucial role in triggering increased dependence on substances.
  • Stress – Some amount of stress can motivate adolescents to sharpen their skills to meet challenges and deal with setbacks. However, chronic stressors, such as poverty, malnutrition, mental health problems of a parent, etc., can lower the development of the coping capabilities.
  • Parental substance use – Children of the parents with the problem of smoking, drinking, addiction to illicit drugs and prescription drugs, etc. can witness both direct and indirect impact. Moreover, women who abuse substances during pregnancy are at an increased risk of exposing the fetus to these substances. Parents who smoke at home can expose their children to secondhand smoke. Besides setting a bad example for their children, this increases their risk of developing health and behavioral problems.
  • Emerging mental illness – Some symptoms of mental illnesses can arise during the developmental stages of childhood that can increase the risk of drug abuse and the related problems in the future. For instance, one usually develops anxiety disorders and impulse-control disorders (ICDs) around the age of 11, increasing the possibility for substance use disorder in later years.

Need for intervention in early childhood

Interventions to ensure prevention during the important developmental stages can aid in correcting a child’s life trajectory. Such effective measures also allow him or her to distance himself or herself from mental disorders and substance abuse in later years. Such interventions are typically timed around the transition between one life course to another. This ensures that the changes occurring in the child are addressed on time to lower the risk and increase successful coping and adaption skills. Some of the transitional periods in a child’s life during which it is suitable to carry out a prevention intervention include prenatal phase, preschool phase and transition to school.

If you or your loved one is grappling with the problem of substance abuse, contact the Colorado Detox Helpline. The process of detoxification can expunge the toxins from the body and prepare an individual for the next line of treatment. Call us at our 24/7 helpline 866-730-5807 to avail the best detox centers in Colorado. You can also chat online with our medical advisers for any information regarding the detox treatment centers in Colorado.

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