Teens are more likely to develop a substance abusing habit with higher exposure to risk factors. Teenagers are those who just got transformed from children to adolescents. Therefore, they are not capable enough to cope up with risk factors and become victims of substance abuse. Below is the information on various risk factors faced by teenagers and the ways to deal with those risk factors.
Risk factors: The risk factors associated with childhood influence a teen greatly to take up illicit drugs or alcohol. Exposure to early childhood risks such as drug abusing family, lack of parental supervision and poverty makes a teen more prone to these unhealthy habits.
Teens who are suffering from mental health disorders such as depression, anxiety and conduct disorders, and rebelliousness are more likely to get into drug abusing habits. Situations in social environment such as poor classroom behavior, lack of social skills, academic failure, association with drug abusing peer group or easy drug availability can also encourage a person to take up these unhealthy habits.
Early substance abuse: Various studies have indicated that the involvement in drugs is higher in the stages of early childhood and early adolescence. In the early stages of developing drug abuse, teens generally begin with substances such as alcohol, inhalants, tobacco, marijuana and prescription drugs such as anti-anxiety medicines and sleeping pills. In the later adolescence, marijuana abuse may increase and advance to other illicit drug abuse.
Protective factors: Contrary to risk factors, protective factors are those which decrease the risk of drug abuse in teens. Acting as a solution for the problems posed by the risk factors, they create a positive environment for teens, thus protecting them from the risk of drug abuse.
The various protective factors are self-control, academic competence, anti-drug use policies, strong neighborhood attachment, strong bond between children and parents, parental monitoring and involvement in child’s life, consistent enforcement of discipline, and strengthening learning and bonding at school.
Intervention at right time: Various studies have found that children are more prone to risk of drug abuse during the transition periods from elementary to middle school and then to high school. Therefore, parental supervision should be high during these periods. Parents should continuously monitor the kids and support the kid at every stage of development to reduce the risk of drug abuse.
Parents should teach their kids on how to have positive interactions with other kids and adults. If parents are suspicious of their kid’s unhealthy habits, they should first confirm the substance abuse using drug testing kits available in the market. If they find that their kids are abusing drugs, parents should respond immediately. As parents, they should speak to their kids and discuss about unhealthy habits and their harmful consequences.
Family members, school authorities and community members should be aware of the risk and proactive factors (mentioned above) of substance abuse in teenagers. With this awareness, they can deal with teen substance abuse problem effectively.