Drug abuse, also known as substance abuse refers to the “excessive use of psychoactive drugs such as alcohol and medication.” It is used to create pleasurable effects on the brain but can lead to physical and mental harm in the long run. It is linked with behavioral risks such as violence, academic failure, unwanted sexual activity, overdose, and strained emotional relationships with friends and family.
While substance abuse is harmful to every consumer/addict, it is even more dangerous for children because the earlier you start it, the more harmful it will be. Adults shouldn’t allow or ignore the occasional consumption of drugs either.
Why children engage in drug abuse?
Children see their parents and other adults consuming alcohol and drugs around them. A child’s social life revolves around late-night parties and hangouts involving alcohol and marijuana. It is normal and easy for a child to try these out with their friends, given they are also easily available to buy. It can be due to curiosity to try out new things or a misconception of substance being ‘normal’ and ‘cool’ among teens
When children are unhappy and cannot find a way to get out of an unfavorable emotional state, they turn to chemicals to escape their emotions or find solace. They feel pleasure temporarily but these substances can cause serious harm in the long run.
With the advancement of the entertainment industry, most of them depict the usage of alcohol and drugs. Consequently, this makes their consumption seem okay to their viewers and encourages them to engage in it. Most children believe that consuming drugs and alcohol is ‘cool’.
Children have this developmental need to be rebellious to their parents and adults. When parents are cautious, strict, and impose restrictions on their kids to stay away from alcohol and drugs, children are further encouraged to engage in these activities.
Confidence is an integral part of one’s personality. However, not everyone has it. When people cannot do certain tasks because they lack confidence, they can do it under the influence of alcohol and drugs. Moreover, they effectively alleviate social anxiety.
Types of substance abuse-
Alcohol is the most common form of substance abuse among children. Heavy use is also common and it mostly occurs during high school parties. Consumption of alcohol makes them lose consciousness and can often lead them to engage in violence, accidents, and unwanted sexual activities. Alcohol consumption is portrayed as ‘cool’ and ‘fashionable’ among teens, and as a way of rebelling against strict parents.
Tobacco comes in different forms such as chewing gum, cigarettes, and through the pipe. It is relatively unpopular but contributes significantly to child drug abuse. Most of them consume tobacco as a coping substance. It helps them manage their anxiety and stress but causes other problems such as lung diseases and mental health disorders.
Marijuana is one of the most common forms of substance abuse today. Despite being illegal in many countries, it is easily available around. It exercises various benefits but can be extremely harmful if consumed at a young age and in large quantity.
When to seek help?
Drug abuse is dangerous and can get out of hand sometimes. Under such circumstances, it is highly advisable to consult and seek external help. However, it is highly difficult to accept and consult official authorities. Seeking help also depends upon the severity of your addiction.
A few of these symptoms are:
- Cravings and addictions
- Strained emotional relationships
- Lack of interest and control
- Withdrawing from routine activities
If you notice any of these symptoms, consult a doctor and seek help to get sober.
There’s nothing worse than being addicted to drugs and alcohol. On the brighter side, it can be treated. Most addicts need long-term or repeated care. Treatment includes stop using drugs permanently and be productive. They include:
- Rehabilitation center
- Behavioral counseling
- Long-term follow-up
What should you keep in mind?
- No matter how worse addiction is, it is curable.
- They don’t need to be voluntary to be effective.
- Different addicts require different treatments.
- Quick access to treatment is necessary.
- Treatment offers aid to all the problems of patients, not just drug abuse.
Children tend to get into drug abuse due to external stimuli but keeping them away from this environment is however not possible. Therefore, the dangers should be explained to them. No matter how severe the problem is, there’s always a solution if you’re willing to look for it. Seek external help if necessary.
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