Teen Drug Addiction Help
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Stress & Drug Abuse
There is a strong link between stress and drug abuse in teens. Youth may feel a lot of stress during their teenage years and this increases their risk for drug abuse. Teens and their parents can learn ways to reduce or manage stress, which improves a teen's overall health and well-being and makes them less likely to abuse drugs.
The teenage years bring a lot of changes, and these changes be stressful. Teens may worry about school, friends, family, extracurricular activities, and the future, as well as the many upheavals and disasters in the world. Teens who have been exposed to some sort of trauma, like abuse, disasters, accidents, or violence in their home or neighborhood, may even develop post-traumatic stress disorder. Being under a lot of stress can increase the risk that a teen will use drugs. In fact, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, stress is one of the major factors leading to teen drug abuse and to relapse in recovering drug users.
While stress is a natural response to problems teens may face, and can be helpful in small doses, long-term stress causes a lot of negative mental and physical health problems in teens, such as:
When teens don't have healthy ways to cope with stress and its effects, they may turn to drug abuse to treat some of the symptoms. Of course, using drugs can actually increase stress and cause other mental and physical health problems. Teens can learn healthier ways to manage stress and reduce their chances of turning to drug abuse. Some methods that can help teens manage stress include:
If a teen feels overwhelmed by stress and feels out of control or is tempted to turn to drug or alcohol abuse to deal with their stress, they may need to get help from a doctor or counselor who can help them manage their stress.
Parents can also help teens reduce or manage stress and avoid drug abuse. For instance, they can:
Sources:National Institute on Drug Abuse, Community Drug Alert Bulletin, "Stress and Substance Abuse" [online]
WebMD, Stress Management Health Center, "Tips to Manage Stress" [online]
Palo Alto Medical Foundation, We Are Talking: Teen Health, "Stress" [online]
Sweet Briar College, Academic Resource Center, "Tips for Managing Stress" [online]
Related Article: Drug Abuse and Suicide >>