It’s no secret that mental health matters can sometimes lead to substance abuse disorders. This occurs when someone turns to substances to cope with his or her circumstances in life, instead of coping in a more positive way. What some people may not realize, however, is how many young people may be participating in this. There are quite a few addicts who began their substance abuse a young age.
According to DrugAbuse.gov, people are most likely to begin abusing drugs including tobacco, alcohol, and illegal and prescription drugs during adolescence and young adulthood. Almost 70 percent of high school students will have tried alcohol by their final year. 50 percent will have taken an illegal drug and more than 20 percent will have used a prescription drug for a non medical purpose.
While at least part of what spurs a young individual to try drugs is the desire for new experiences, in some cases, we can’t rule out mental health as a contributing factor. Some may use drugs to feel “good,” and some may use drugs to feel “better.” The distinction? Feeling good can simply refer to the body’s response to pleasure; feeling better may imply something deeper, like using the drug to try to get some relief from depression, anxiety, stress-related disorders.
An estimated 15 million of our nation’s youth can be diagnosed with a mental health disorder.
Some risk factors for drug abuse among youth include but are not limited to:
- Family history of substance use
- Favorable parental attitude toward the behavior
- Poor parental monitoring
- Lack of school connected-ness
- Varying forms of childhood abuse
Warning signs of a young person who may be using drugs or alcohol may include behavioral changes, mood and personality shifts, health issues, and more. An example of a behavioral change may be going out every night or breaking curfew. Someone become more deceitful or less motivated can point to a personality shift. Finally, nosebleeds, seizures, and frequent sickness can signal health issues stemming from drug use.
Tishanna Dillard, Marketing Operations Specialist
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