Drug and Alcohol Abuse in Teenagers
Drug addiction and alcohol abuse in teenagers are very common all around the world. According to the statistics, there is an increasing use of illicit drugs, around 3 millions are drug addicts. Drug addiction is major problems for many communities and families in India. Cannabis, heroin, hashish and opium are commonly abused drugs. Due to financial costs, lack of availability of services and lack of appropriate care large number of drug addicts are left untreated in India. Hence this has given rise and increased the number of HIV cases in India. Over 2.4 million people are infected with HIV due to drug abuse.
Binge drinking or drinking too much of alcohol is very commonly seen in teenagers. Teenagers are more attracted towards alcohol as they have been always refrained from drinking alcohol until certain age (21 year). Most of them start drinking before the legal age of drinking. Either due to peer pressure or Adrenalin rush to do something new, they are more prone towards alcoholism. Alcohol is not bad for the health however excess drinking of alcohol for longer time is poisonous to the body as it can damage the physical and mental health both.
Some teens try the drugs and alcohol for sometime and then they stop as they are aware about its negative effect on their body, career and life. However some cannot control their urges which leads to alcohol and drug abuse.
Some reasons for alcohol and drug abuse in teenagers
- Peer pressure and to fit into the circle - During adolescence stage, teenagers try to figure out what they want to do in their life, most of them are not aware what is right thing to do and what's wrong. Peer pressure, or pressure from their colleagues is very important part in every adolescents life. Some teenagers are way ahead of time and they have tried all kinds of drugs and alcohol by this time. These teenagers pressurize the younger kids to use the drugs and convince them to use it if they want to be a 'cool kid'. Every teenager wants to be a 'cool kid', kid who is in demand. Due to this pressure, many teenagers fall into the trap of drug use. Some of them get out of it easily while some get more and more trapped, with no easy way to get out.
- Parents using themselves - Teens are more likely to get involved into drug and alcohol use if their parents are actively involved into these. These children have been seeing their parents all the time using drugs and alcohol hence they tend to use it, also the drugs are easily accessible for these teenagers if parents tend to keep the substances open. Teens assume that if their parents are using the drugs and drinking the alcohol, that means it is not at all bad for the health as well, hence teens are more enticed to use drugs and alcohol.
- Unable to cope with mental stress - Many teens have been suffering from mental stress and depression either due to study stress, family problems, personal issues with opposite sex or medical issues making them more vulnerable towards drug and alcohol abuse. Such kids instead of talking to their parents and solving the problem, they decide to take the help of drugs as it keeps them happier and make them forget their problems for time being.
- Curiosity to try something new and different - Adolescence is a stage where many new things are introduced into the life. Legal age for drinking alcohol is 21, till then teenagers are not allowed to drink alcohol. This restriction make them more desirable towards it. Being curious in nature, and desire to know how it feels like to get drunk or high, tend them to break all the laws and start drinking earlier than required. If there is no close supervision of parents on their children, then the occasional drinking leads to frequent use and abuse of drugs and alcohol.
- To enjoy and have fun - Teenagers are in such a stage where they are growing but with less responsibility. During this stage of life, only aim is to enjoy and have fun with life. Drinking has been all the time easy way to socialize with people and make new friends. Teenagers try drinking alcohol and getting high by using drugs only to socialize with the friends.
What to do if your kid is using alcohol and drugs?
- Talk to your kid - Try to openly talk to your kid about these issues. Do not use harsh words or any kind of violence to make your kid speak the truth. Instead politely speak with your kid, assure him/her that you will help to solve the issue. At this point of time, your child don't need a lecture from you, but needs you to understand the problem. Hence talk directly and explain your child how vulnerable and easily influenced teens are at this age.
- Ask for help from doctors or specialists - If your kid is already addicted to drugs and alcohol, do not hesitate to ask for help from doctors. Many parents avoid disclosing this issue to anyone, even to doctors as parents has fear of being socially stigmatized. But if parents don't tell the truth, doctors cannot help the child in anyway and medical treatment becomes necessary if child is completely addicted to drugs and alcohol.
How to prevent drug and alcohol use and abuse?
- Speak with your kid about substance use and abuse way early than teenage life. Explain them the hazardous effects of these substances on human body, and make them believe that use of these substances are not going to make their life good. You being parent, be open minded, don't hesitate to talk to your kid about it. They are going to know about it from somewhere, they why don't you only start it, that way at least they would be able to make the difference what is right for them and what is wrong.
- Involve your child with some activities like outdoor or indoor activities so that they don't get enough ideal time to think about other things. This way they also learn to make use of their time for something good and meaningful.
- Know your child's friends. Invite the friends at home so that you would be able to understand them better. Make sure your child's friends are not involved into drugs and alcohol use.
- Keep close supervision on your child especially if you are a working parent. Make sure you ask your child about their problems in school and try to solve them.
- Give them some space as well. Let them do the way they want, don't always mingle in their life. There should be balance between this. Keep close supervision, but don't show that you are restricting them anyway.
- Don't use drugs and excess alcohol in the presence of your child. Parents as well need to stop the use of these substances themselves if they want their child to not get involved and ruin their life. Be like a role model for your child.
Role of parents are very important in every child's life. The values and morals are learned from parents, so teach your child to be morally good person. Most of the parents avoid speaking with their kids as they think its not a right time to talk about it. But talking and expressing your views is the only way to teach the right path to your child. Take a step ahead and talk to your child, let your child learn from you than learning from their 'peers'.
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