Did you know that nine out of ten people with addiction began using these substances before they were 18? Or that people who began using addictive substances before the age of 15 are seven times more likely to become addicted than those who do not try drugs until they are 21 years of age or older?
While addiction has proven harmful in any regard, teen addiction can prove to have more detrimental short-term and long-term effects on the brain. Teenage brains are more susceptible to addiction and stress, as opposed to the adult brain.
Researcher at the University of Pittsburgh, Bita Moghaddam, explains that this is because, “the brain region that is very critical in planning your actions and in habit formation is directly tapped by reward in adolescents, which means the reward could have a stronger influence in their decision-making…as well as forming habits in adolescents.”
This proves even more harmful, due to the fact that the brain is still developing well into your twenties; therefore, any drug abuse not only stops the teenage brain from fully developing, but also makes them more vulnerable to addiction. Moghaddam further elaborates that the adolescent brain is, “more vulnerable to what goes on around them in the environment, to things that are expected to be rewarding, and could make the brain more vulnerable to addiction. Events or things in the environment could influence your next action more strongly in adolescents than in adults.”
Common red flags for teen addiction include:
- Changes in dress or grooming
- Changes in choice of friends
- Changes in eating or sleeping patterns
- Depressed mood or talk about depression or suicide
- Frequent arguments, sudden mood changes and unexplained violent actions
- Loss of interest in usual activities or hobbies
- Obvious intoxication, dizziness or other bizarre behavior
- Runaway or delinquent behavior
- School problems such as falling grades, poor attendance and recent discipline problems
- Sudden weight gain or loss
- Trauma or frequent injuries
If a loved one is suffering from teen addiction, call Treatment Alternatives today for a quality substance abuse treatment in Boca Raton.