Alcohol dependence and drug abuse in adolescents

Alcohol dependence and drug abuse in adolescents

An increasing number of adolescents use alcohol or other toxic substances, although this is illegal and dangerous. Some adolescents try alcohol or toxic substances only occasionally, but even this behavior can be considered dangerous, as it can lead to addiction and secondary problems (illegal consequences, poor school performance, loss of friends in social-isolation environment and not in lastly, family problems).

An increasing number of adolescents use alcohol or other toxic substances, although this is illegal and dangerous. Some adolescents try alcohol or toxic substances only occasionally, but even this behavior can be considered dangerous, as it can lead to addiction and secondary problems (illegal consequences, poor school performance, loss of friends in social-isolation environment and not in lastly, family problems).
Statistics on the consumption of alcohol and other toxins in adolescents
Alcohol and toxic substance abuse is a reality among adolescents and should be viewed seriously. The centers for the prevention and control of toxic consumption among adolescents, provide the following information:

  • about 10% of adolescents smoke up to 15 cigarettes a day, 20 days a month (although the percentage is increasing). Tobacco has multiple long-term harmful effects and also creates addiction. An adolescent who smokes for more than 1 year has an 80% chance of becoming addicted
  • about 75% of high school students have consumed alcohol occasionally. Of these, 28% report episodes with excessive alcohol consumption (more than 5 strong drinks, within a few hours). One of the main causes of death among adolescents is car accidents caused by excessive alcohol consumption. Alcohol use decreases age-specific inhibitions and predisposes the adolescent to inappropriate sex life (unprotected sex) and which increases the risk of contracting a sexually transmitted disease (HIV-AIDS, herpes, chlamydia) or the appearance of an unwanted pregnancy
  • about 40% of adolescents have tried at least once marijuana, while 22% of them frequently use this drug. Marijuana is a common choice among adolescents and can cause memory loss, cognitive (learning) or attention disorders.
  • Approximately 9% of adolescents have tried cocaine, while 4% use this drug frequently (at least once a month). Cocaine is a drug that creates addiction. It is very dangerous because it can cause cardiac arrhythmias (sometimes abnormal heartbeat), sometimes fatal, myocardial infarction, pseudoepileptic seizures or strokes.
    There are other toxic substances that are used by adolescents. Of these we mention:
  • toxic substances with inhalation administration (sprays, benzene-based substances, oils, paints and adhesives). These types of toxic substances are most commonly used by young adolescents because they are easy to obtain and are also relatively inexpensive. However, they are extremely toxic because they contain toxic substances, such as toluene, which can cause brain damage, tumors (chronic use) and in some cases even user death.
  • drugs most often used in clubs, such as: ecstasy (MDMA), gammahydroxybutyrate (GHB), flunitrazepam (Rohypnol), also called love drugs, often used by adolescent boys for sexually corrupting girls (the sexual act that is consumed after intoxication with of substances, it is considered rape). These drugs are used especially in nightclubs where trance, dance or rave music is played. Although the number of adolescents who use such drugs is lower than that of those who smoke tobacco or marijuana and consume alcohol, these drugs are much more dangerous especially if used in different combinations with other toxins. The use, even rare of ecstasy, can lead to depression, problems with sleep and severe anxiety, symptoms that can last more than a few weeks from the initial use. The chronic use of this drug causes liver damage and problems with concentration and memory
  • methamphetamine (often found under different generic names, such as speed, crank or met). This drug creates addiction and can cause serious manifestations, such as, pseudoepileptic seizures, ischemic strokes, serious mental problems (paranoia, hallucinations, depersonalization seizures) and other long-term health problems.
  • hallucinogens, most commonly LSD (lysergic diethylamide acid), mescaline, psilocybin, PCP (phencyclidine) and ketamine. Using LSD can cause serious psychiatric disorders, such as psychosis and hallucinogenic flashes.
  • opiates, like heroin, morphine and codeine. Opiate use leads to physical and mental dependence. Adolescents who use drugs are prone to different crimes, especially theft of various household goods and sometimes even charge for prostitution and all this to get money for drugs.
  • Toxic drug substances, such as diazepam (valium), are also used by adolescents on various occasions.
  • Anabolic steroids are medicinal substances used especially by boys who want to suddenly increase their muscle mass and significantly reduce their adipose tissue.
    However, these substances can cause liver cancer, oligospermia (decreased sperm count), male physical characteristics, irritability, anger, increased serum cholesterol and high blood pressure with acute myocardial infarction or stroke.
    Drug use has become more and more common in recent years in our country. This causes that the health, social and family problems related to this behavior are also common.
    Drug use can cause severe brain dysfunction and developmental and behavioral disorders. Adolescents who use drugs often have a certain difficulty in establishing their own identity, human (including family) relationships, in achieving normal physical and mental independence. Abuse of toxic substances can also affect the adolescent's (learning) cognitive abilities that decrease school performance. By far, the most dangerous side effect of occasional drug use is the emergence of addiction that results in chronic abuse of such substances.
  • Risk factors

    There are different personal, family or social factors that increase in some way the risk for the consumption of toxic substances. In such cases, the use of toxicants leads to chronic addiction and abuse.
    Risk factors of a personal nature
    These include:
  • genetic factors. People with toxic substance abuse most often have a family history of consumption and toxic abuse. There are different medical studies that show that there are different genetic predisposing factors that in combination with environmental factors can lead to the abuse of certain toxic substances
  • personality type and temperament. Adolescents with a rebellious behavior, resistant to parental authority, who have feelings of guilt or failure, have a special predisposition for the consumption of toxics. Looking for strong sensations or the tendency to carry out different activities with potentially dangerous ones can also increase the appetite for such toxics
  • different conditions. Adolescents who have different mental disorders, such as attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, behavioral disorders, chronic depression, repression (concealment of certain feelings), post-traumatic stress syndrome or anxiety depressive disorders, are prone to toxic substance use. Also the consumption of these toxins can aggravate these conditions
  • temptation, age specific is another factor that predisposes to the consumption of toxics. Adolescents are often curious about the sensations or effects these toxins have on their own person. The entourage, the erroneous information in the media, stimulates curiosity, often a small impulse is enough to personally try these substances
  • young age at first use.
    The use of tobacco and alcohol at an early age greatly increases the risk of abuse and addiction. A medical study has shown that adolescents who first use alcohol at the age of 14, have a 4-5 times higher risk of becoming addicted to alcohol, compared to those who first use alcohol at 19.
    Family risk factors
    These include:
  • family history of use of toxic substances. A study shows that a teenager whose parents consume alcohol or other toxins has a 3-fold increased risk of developing addiction at a time, compared to the rest of adolescents
  • parents' attitude to school, extracurricular activities, smoking or alcohol or drug use. Some parents find it inevitable that their children will experience such toxins. In many of these cases, children easily perceive this educational freedom and do not hesitate to try such toxics (especially smoking and alcohol consumption), which usually leads to the appearance of addiction and abuse.
  • Disorganized family life is another important factor in the predisposition for toxic consumption of adolescents. Families in which there are different conflicts or physical or sexual abuse, intense psychic stress, have a high risk of consuming toxic. Emotional compensation and family warmth are important in any family trying to avoid such abuse
  • Inadequate parental involvement, in the education and life of the adolescent, also increases the risk for abuse and addiction to the toxic. Extreme education, such as severe (often bodily) penalties or increased parenting, increases the risk of toxic abuse (especially alcohol, tobacco, and light drugs).
    Social risk factors
    These include:
  • access to different toxins. The relatively easy purchase of cigarettes, alcohol, drug-free traffic, inappropriate entourage and not least, increased tolerance of the community, contributes to the occurrence of toxic abuse and addiction of adolescents. The presence of alcohol and cigarettes in the home has the same negative effect on adolescents tempted to try such substances
  • inappropriate entourage is a very important risk factor for adolescent abuse and addiction, as the group is the ideal environment to experience such toxic substances (especially marijuana, alcohol, hallucinogenic drugs).
  • media advertising of alcohol, cigarettes or drugs. There is a mentality among adolescents that the use of toxic drugs is in vogue and increases in popularity, success and sex appeal. Pharmacies that inappropriately release medications that can be used by adolescents for purposes other than medical purposes, are also a risk factor in the occurrence of toxic addiction and abuse in adolescents.


    Sometimes it is quite difficult for parents or members of the entourage to identify a problem related to the consumption of toxics among adolescents. Some parents suspect that drug use may occur in adolescents with abnormal behavior (negativism, denial, isolation), although this behavior may be considered normal at this age.
    It is quite difficult to identify a possible abuse of toxics and it is not recommended extreme behavior from the worried parents.
    Specialists recommend that when suspected possible abuse of toxic substances among adolescents, carefully observe certain behavioral changes characteristic for such situations (behavioral changes, change of look, attitude towards close persons, etc.).
    Of the signs that can appear with the abuse of toxins, we mention the following:
  • low attention to physical appearance and clothing, and inadequate hygiene
  • loss of food appetite and unexplained weight loss
  • conjunctival hyperemia (red eyes), inadequate and frequent use of eye drops and mouth fresheners (chewing gum, menthol drops)
  • absenteeism and poor school performance
  • losing interest in certain school or extracurricular activities, sports or other hobbies
  • behavior that betrays trying to hide a certain secret
  • Removal of family members and friends
  • friends and new entourage who are not introduced to the family
  • behavior characterized by lying and theft
  • disdainful behavior towards family and friends
  • hostile, violent attitude
  • disinterest and lack of future plans.
    Source: Sfatulmedicului.ro
  • Tags Child alcohol abuse Child drug abuse