Addiction can happen to anyone — it does not discriminate based on age. In fact, addiction actually has its easiest targets in teens and young adults. But why is that?
Teens are more susceptible to drug and alcohol addiction because of their brain chemistry. Your teen is primed for addiction, in short, because their brains are still developing.
Why “Just Say No” Isn’t Always Effective
Teenage years are actually the prime development time for a person’s brain, the time when we start laying the building blocks for impulse control, maturity, and decision making that we will carry with us for our entire lives.
Because these important centers of the brain aren’t fully developed, it is much easier for a teen to partake in risky behaviors, including substance abuse. It’s not always about just saying no — their ability to understand the long term consequences of their actions versus short term perceived gains is compromised; until their brain reaches a fully matured state, saying no isn’t always the obvious choice.
What Drugs Do to the Teen Brain
Think of your teen’s mind like a canvas. As they grow and live new experiences, create memories, and build meaningful relationships, this canvas gets more and more colorful. Drug addiction begins to fill in these blank areas and overwrite the new, colorful regions with black ink splotches.
The euphoria, sense of control, and thrill of rebellion are all exciting lures that can start any young adult down the path of substance abuse. Drugs change the brain, and these changes happen much faster in teens than adults because of the blank slated areas that haven’t been dedicated to substance or experience yet.
These foreign substances even have the ability to erase pieces of the brain that are still under construction, or alter areas such as memory. Seeking immediate gratification is tempting for anybody, and even more so in teens.
Why Professional Treatment is Important
We want to stop these changes from being permanent and mitigate the risk of lifelong addiction into adulthood:
“If you let the ink dry long enough, that’s not going to come off the canvas. What we really want to do is try to create moments, either to erase what is happening or what has happened on that canvas, or to overlay enough events that are positive to overshadow and overcome them.” — Austin Davis, LPC-S, Founder/CEO of Clearfork Academy
Don’t wait to seek help for your teen, keep their canvas colorful! If your child is struggling with substance abuse or mental health, we’re here to help. Our clinical admissions specialists are available 24/7 to help with your unique situation. Please call us at 888-966-8604, email us at email@example.com, or visit our website at www.ClearforkAcademy.com.
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