Addiction in Adolescence Essay

Addiction in Adolescence Essay

Today, the issue of addiction in adolescence has reached unprecedented levels. More and more individuals become addicted to drugs and other substances, which later can make a strong negative impact on the individual’s physical and mental health, emotions, behaviors, and the overall brain functioning. There are a number of possible risk factors that may contribute to abuse of substances and addiction in adolescence. These factors may include the early stressful life experiences, genetic influences, early traumatic events, physical/sexual abuse, early childhood suffering, and prenatal exposure to alcohol. A range of environmental influences, lack of parental supervision, emotional problems, and loneliness, lack of support, mood instability, anxiety, and depression can also make a powerful impact on the individual’s psychological health and promote addiction to drugs, alcohol, and other substances.  Adolescence is a unique period in a person’s life and development. According to Squeglia et al. (2009), “adolescence marks a period of rapid development between childhood and adulthood involving complex social, biological, and psychological changes.” (p.31) Unfortunately many young individuals do not completely understand all the potential influence and consequences of alcohol/drug use. Abuse of substances and addiction in adolescence negatively affect brain maturation, which in its turn may lead to significant abnormalities in brain structure and functioning. Study after study shows that “substance use during adolescence has been associated with alterations in brain structure, function, and neurocognition.” (Squeglia, et al., 2009, p. 31) Substance abuse may result in low cognitive control, lack of attention, poor social interaction, emotional instability and abnormal behaviors.Addiction in Adolescence Essay

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Researchers analyzed data and found a strong correlation between substance abuse and suicidal behaviors. Study after study indicate that abuse of substances and addiction in adolescence lead to a number of negative effects on the individual’s mental health, emotions, and behaviors. Esposito-Smythers et al. (2004) explained that “alcohol intoxication may serve as a proximal risk factor for suicidal behavior among distressed youths through its psychopharmacological effects on the brain.” (p. 77) Alcohol abuse may cause stress, vulnerability, psychopathological behaviors, and mental instability, which often lead to the individual’s suicidal thoughts and his attempts to cause intentional harm. Evidence indicates that “substance use may also serve as a distal risk factor for suicidal behavior by increasing stress and exacerbating co-occurring psychopathology.” (p. 77) Analyzing the prevalence of addiction among adolescents it becomes obvious that factors such as race, ethnics, religious appreciations, and culture can make different impacts on the development of drug/substance abuse. Spiritual development is another important element, which plays a core role not only in the prevention of substance/drug abuse but also in the effectiveness of their treatment. Study after study shows that health spiritual development is associated with a lowered risk of abuse of substances and addiction in adolescence. Researchers agreed that health spiritual development can also become an important tool in recovery for the adolescents with substance abuse or addiction. Evidence shows that during adolescence the individuals who practice spirituality are more likely to avoid “addiction vulnerability”; spiritual devotions give people high protective qualities against “negative environmental factors” and social pressure. Researchers explain that religious beliefs and strong spiritual truth help the adolescents develop reliable inner strengths, abilities, unique power, and strong inner faith in personal identity. As evidence shows, lack of spiritual development often leads to unforgiving thoughts that “can have a negative effect on skin conductance, heart rate, and blood pressure.” (Knight, et al., 2007, p. 354) Researchers found that health spiritual development helps the adolescents develop forgiveness, which is “an important spiritual construct for adolescents and that it is associated with lower risk of alcohol use during this vulnerable developmental period.” (Knight, et al., 2007, p. 354)Addiction in Adolescence Essay

References:

Esposito-Smythers, C. and Spirito, A. (2004), Adolescent Substance Use and Suicidal Behavior: A Review with Implications for Treatment Research. Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research, 28: 77S–88S.        doi:10.1097/01.ALC.0000127417.99752.87

Knight, J. R., Sherritt, L., Harris, S. K., Holder, D. W., Kulig, J., Shrier, L. A., … Chang, G.(2007). Alcohol Use and Religiousness/Spirituality Among Adolescents. Southern Medical Journal100(4), 349–355. http://doi.org/10.1097/SMJ.0b013e3180316a32 Addiction in Adolescence Essay

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