Teenage Substance Abuse Prevention Tips

Alcohol and drug abuse are common problems among teenagers which can have significant effects on their lives and the lives of their friends and family. Most adults with addictions report that their abuse started during their teen years. Parents, teachers, and other adults can help prevent teenage substance abuse by learning:

  • The reasons teenagers develop these habits.
  • The risk factors and consequences for teenagers.
  • Some preventive strategies.

If you or someone you know is struggling with substance abuse, there is no time to waste. Seeking help before they hurt themselves or someone else is crucial. Myrtle Beach Recovery can help. We offer short-term and long-term rehabilitation programs, with a focus on working the 12 Steps of Recovery.

Don’t let addiction win another day. Call Myrtle Beach Recovery for more information.

Why Do Teenagers Abuse Alcohol and Drugs?

There are many reasons teenagers first use and then misuse alcohol and drugs. Most first-time use by teenagers happens in a social setting where substances are readily available. Continued use occurs for several reasons, including:

  • Insecurity
  • Desire to be popular or accepted
  • Media influence
  • To escape unhappiness
  • Rebellion against parents 
  • Seeking attention

Which Teenagers Are More at Risk for Substance Abuse?

Various circumstances and conditions place some teens at increased risk for abusing drugs and alcohol. Although none of these risk factors determine a young person’s future, they can help identify the potential for problems with using drugs and alcohol.

  • Family history. Addiction is a complex disease that scientists believe has a genetic component. As DNA analysis continues to advance, researchers hope to learn more about the role a person’s genes play in abusing drugs and alcohol. 
  • Environment. In addition to genetic research, studies in epigenetics shed light on how a person’s behavior and environment can affect one’s genes. The exciting news here is that while a teen’s environment may bring genetic change, these changes are reversible.
  • Emotional health. Teens who suffer from depression, anxiety, and other mental health conditions may attempt to self-medicate to improve their feelings.
  • Traumatic event. Any traumatic event can push a teen toward drugs to rid them of their feelings about the experience.

What are the Consequences of Teenage Substance Abuse?

A single use of drugs and alcohol can have dire consequences for the user, and sometimes, innocent bystanders. These effects are usually immediate and directly related to the effects of the abused substance. However, other direct and indirect consequences result from prolonged use. The destructive nature of drugs and alcohol can combine with the many different personalities and circumstances of the teenage years to cause an unlimited number of adverse outcomes. Some of the most common ones include:

  • Health problems such as hypertension, heart attack, liver failure, lung damage, seizures, and more.
  • Worsening or creation of mental health disorders such as depression and anxiety.
  • Impaired driving that results in accidents, injuries, and deaths.
  • Drug-related criminal activities such as theft, violence, and selling.
  • Lost time at school and work.
  • Loss of focus and decision-making abilities.

How Can You Help Prevent Teenage Substance Abuse?

Many teenagers who use drugs and alcohol will quit before becoming addicted. However, with such dire consequences for those who eventually abuse drugs or alcohol, adults should know about and work at prevention. Here are some preventive measures to consider:

  • Open communication at home. Parents often underestimate the major impact they have on their child’s choices away from home. Communicating openly and freely about addictive substances can educate your child about the negative consequences and help prevent the first or continued use.
  • Know what your teen does away from home. Pay attention to where your teen goes and what activities interest them.
  • Know your teen’s friends and their activities. Learning about your teenager’s friends can help with the early detection of potential problems with drugs and alcohol. Don’t turn a blind eye to the habits of their friends since they probably reflect the lifestyle of your teenager.
  • Don’t keep prescription drugs around your house. These should be used as directed and then appropriately discarded.
  • Set and clearly communicate rules. Teenagers need and feel more secure when they have rules. Having structure creates a safer environment for them to make decisions and cope better with peer pressure.
  • Teach your teenager how to say no. Give them opportunities to see you say no and use these to teach them how and why to say no to specific opportunities.
  • Make your home a safe haven. Teenagers need a safe place to express themselves and be heard without condemnation.
  • Maintain a healthy perspective on life. Your teenager will move into early adulthood, and the teen years will exist only as a memory. Help them safely navigate this challenging time of life. 

Understand The Truth, And Seek Help When Needed

If you or someone you love is in the throes of alcoholism, there is no time to waste. Seeking help before they hurt themselves or someone else is crucial. Myrtle Beach Recovery can help. We offer short-term and long-term rehabilitation programs, with a focus on working the 12 Steps of Recovery.

Don’t let addiction win another day. Call Myrtle Beach Recovery for more information.


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