Risk Factors for Teenage Drug Addiction


drug-addiction-risk-factorsIt’s tough being a teenager, but it’s a lot tougher for parents to raise a youth in an environment where drug addiction remains an unbeatable dilemma. Every now and then, there are news about drugs being a culprit of suicide and other accidents involving teenagers. If you’re a parent, it’s only natural to feel worried about the safety of your own youngster. If at all possible, you’d want them to stay drug-free throughout their lifetime. Unfortunately, some things are just hard to control. Below are some of the risk factors attributed to drug addiction. Understanding them will help you determine how vulnerable your own teenager might be in becoming a victim of drug abuse.

Family History of Drug Addiction. Like other diseases, drug addiction can run in the family. Teenagers who have parents or relatives who struggle with some form of addiction (drugs, alcohol, gambling, etc.) are believed to be at greater risk of taking drugs as well. A SAMHSA document reveals that children of alcoholics are two to four times more likely than other children to become alcoholics themselves. However, aside from genes, other environmental influences can also play a role in teenage drug addiction. Infants being born already addicted to prescription drugs are said to have greater risk of addiction later in life.

Stress. A survey from The National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse (CASA) at Columbia University found that high-stressed teenagers are twice as likely as their peers to smoke, drink and use illegal drugs. Similarly, there have already been reports that prescription drugs like Adderall and Ritalin are being used by some students across the United States to cope with the demands of education.

Lack of Parental Supervision or Involvement. Teenagers crave for attention and guidance. Those who do not have close relationship with their parents or who receive little parental monitoring have an increased risk of embracing drugs and alcohol. Similarly, teenagers with parents who set unrealistic goals and demands or who experiences high level of family conflict are at risk of drug or alcohol use.

Childhood Trauma. The way our brain is wired is different from person to person. Sadly, there are people who have poor coping skills when faced with adverse experiences during their childhood, such as losing a parent to death or divorce, neglect, emotional or physical abuse, sexual abuse, or domestic violence. Kaiser Permanent’s Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACE) study found a clear relationship between severe childhood stress and all types of addictions. The more adverse trauma a child experienced, the higher his/her chance of drug or alcohol problems later in life.

Perceptions About Drugs. Teenagers who believe that drugs and alcohol are not dangerous are far more likely to become addicted to drugs. Prescription drug use, in particular, is fast-becoming a concern among parents, health care providers, and government officials because of the rising cases being reported lately. Teenagers using prescription medications often believe that the drugs are inherently safe because doctors prescribe them. Celebrity influences is also another factor that gives prescription drug use a trendy and glamorous appeal to teenagers.

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