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Teen Behavioral Issues And Addiction

The hardships of adolescence may lead some teens to turn to drugs or alcohol to try and cope with their unique struggles. Abusing substances can lead to a plethora of behavioral issues that may impact their future. Addressing any underlying mental health disorders and keeping an open door of communication and trust with teens can help behavioral issues be resolved.

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The Connection Between Teen Behavioral Issues And Addiction

The relationship between teen mental health and substance abuse is clear. A study concluded out of 10,000 adolescent and teenagers with a mental health disorder, two thirds developed an alcohol use disorder or a substance use disorder. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 14% of students reportedly misused prescription medication, and 15% have used illicit drugs. Exploring substances in high school can follow a teen into their adult life. If the teen doesn’t receive the treatment for substance abuse or mental health conditions, he or she can struggle with teen and adult addiction.

With factors like peer pressure, teens can discover harmful chemicals as a seemingly quick fix for stress, anxiety and other behavioral issues. Teens facing behavioral issues can unsurprisingly become chemically dependent. At best, teens struggling with behavioral problems can seek the help of a therapist and tackle underlying issues needing attention. At worse, teens can seek out drugs and alcohol to help soothe difficult emotions or mental health problems.

Behavioral issues that are due to untreated mental health disorders can transition into teen drug use, which trickles into adult drug use. A 2016 survey noted that half of kids with mental health disorders will end up battling addiction if left untreated. If teens do not seek treatment for difficult emotions like depression and anxiety or behavioral issues, he or she risks worsening mental health that can be the motive for more behavioral problems, self-image issues, and poor coping skills. Additionally, the teen can behave recklessly, creating life-long problems and patters leading to poor relationships, poor health and organ function, severed family ties, and possibly fatally overdosing.

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Teen Behavioral Issues And Addiction: Risk Factors

Teen substance abuse and addiction occurs from factors like social and emotional difficulties they experience from personal life or academic life. Teenagers are still developing their personalities and sense of self. Risk factors for behavioral issues in teens can greatly impact a teen’s life in several ways. The CDC noted the below as risk factors associated with teen substance abuse:

  • Mental health problems
  • Poor parental monitoring
  • Disconnection from school
  • Sexual abuse
  • Family rejection
  • Parental enabling of drug use
  • Low self-esteem
  • Poor self-image

Conditions like ADHD, PTSD, depression, and anxiety have increased in the teenage population and can contribute to behavioral challenges or addiction. Other factors that may increase a teen’s odds of developing a substance use disorder include peer pressure, poor mental health, genetic-related mental health conditions, and untreated trauma. If a teen is struggling with one of these conditions and self-medicating with illicit substances they may be more likely to take risks, encouraging sexually risky behavior and violence.

Defining And Recognizing Teen Behavioral Issues

Teen behavioral problems are any signs of problematic behavior that can directly impact the teen and their future. Additionally, these behaviors can affect their academic performance, their friendships, and relationships. As the teen’s brain is still maturing and developing, he or she may experience anxiety and confusion on how to face challenges.

Parents and loved ones may express concern and experience frustration as their teen undergoes behavioral problems. Signs of teen behavioral issues include:

  • Poor academic performance
  • Defiance/rebelliousness/undermining behavior
  • Changes in appearance
  • Aggression
  • Changes in personality
  • Skipping school
  • Anxiety or depression
  • Changes in eating habits
  • Hopelessness
  • Self-harm/cutting
  • Overall changes in mental health
  • Forming new friendships that are a bad influence
  • Isolation/feeling like they don’t fit in
  • Insomnia or oversleeping
  • Fighting/arguing

Teen Behavioral Issues And Addiction: What Parents Can Do

Parents of teens can consider having an intervention if they are concerned about their teen’s substance abuse. An intervention can help the parent connect with the teen in a safe space with the help of an interventionist. Additionally, the teen can become more aware of behaviors and the impact it has on their loved ones and their life. Parents and the interventionist can confront teens and give them the chance to make amends. They can become aware of their part (codependency, enabling, substance abuse) in their child’s substance abuse and propose consequences and boundaries. Lastly, parents and the interventionist can introduce talks about treatment or therapy needed.

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Teen Treatment And Rehab

Rehab allows teens the chance to prevent early substance abuse before it becomes more problematic. Teens can access one-on-one counseling, which allows further self-awareness, or group therapy. Some facilities offer family therapy, which further deepens bonds between relatives and their teen. Teens may get medications like anti-anxiety medications, or Benzodiazepines for alcohol withdrawal. Other needed medications that can help with underlying mental health challenges are available. Fortunately, there are teen rehabs offering unique age-specific treatment. Teen gender-based facilities can encourage recovery in safe environments for teens. Each facility will offer unique and specific treatments, along with hands-on monitoring.

Get Help For Teen Addiction

Parents can feel relieved knowing there is help available for their teens. Teen rehab can connect them with care based on their age-specific needs. Contact a knowledgeable treatment provider risk-free to talk about facility options.

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MeadowWood Behavioral Health

New Castle, DE

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