Every day, we make choices. We choose what to wear, what to eat, and how to spend our time. For teenagers, they are still learning how to make good choices for themselves, and the decisions become more and more significant as they get older.
Making healthy, beneficial choices can be especially difficult for teens, especially if they have negative influences around them. This difficulty is because their brains are still developing, which means they do not have the same level of judgment and impulse control as adults do.
This is why teenagers can easily become drawn to risky behavior, including substance abuse. Let’s discuss what substance abuse is, what it looks like in teenagers, how it affects their brains, and where teenagers can go to receive supportive and effective treatment for substance abuse in the Atlanta and Alpharetta area.
What Is Substance Abuse?
Substance abuse is the use of drugs, chemicals, or alcohol in a way that is harmful to the user and/or those around them. It can include using too much of a substance, using a substance for the wrong reasons, or using a substance that is illegal or Unprescribed to the user.
Substance abuse can lead to problems at home, school, or work. If it isn’t treated but left ignored, it can even lead to death.
What Does Substance Abuse Look Like in Teenagers?
Substance abuse in teenagers can look different than it does in adults. For example, a teenager may start using substances to try to “fit in” with a certain group of friends, or the teen may use substances to cope with stress, anxiety, or feelings of inadequacy. They may also want to simply get high, because the realities of life are overwhelming or even seemingly too boring.
Teenagers may also use substances to self-medicate, which is an attempt at treating their own mental health problems – such as depression.
What Does Substance Abuse Do to the Teenage Brain?
Substance abuse can have a greater negative impact on the teenage brain than it does in the adult brain, since teenagers’ brains are still developing. It can interfere with the normal development of the parts of the brain which are responsible for judgment and impulse control. It can also put teens at a higher risk of cognitive impairment and substance abuse disorder in adulthood.
There is still much that we don’t know about how these chemical substances can affect the developing brain, so it is extremely important to address substance abuse in teenagers as soon as they show any signs of substance abuse – including using drugs or drinking alcohol. It is also key for the teen’s parents and other close adults to model healthy behaviors in this arena, and not expect the teen to “rise above” an issue while the adult does not.
Effective Treatment for Teen Substance Abuse in Atlanta and Alpharetta, GA
If you or someone you know is struggling with substance abuse, it is important to get help from a licensed professional counselor. Here at Atlanta Specialized Care, we provide those who are dealing with substance abuse – including teenagers – with the treatment and support they need to overcome their addiction or destructive behaviors.
To make an appointment with one of our amazing counselors, please call us today at (770) 815-6853 or fill out our appointment request form online now. We look forward to serving you!