Drug and alcohol abuse affects millions of people the world over. From family and friends to work associates, the issue stems throughout our culture, relationships and livelihood. In this entry we will discuss some of the facts associated with substance abuse.
Substance Abuse And Young People
Though drug and alcohol abuse affects each and every age demographic, young people are at the heart of the issue. The younger an individual is when they begin to dabble with a substance, the greater chance that they will become addicted. This problem is paramount, due to the structure of the adolescent brain which is not fully developed pertaining to judgment and decision-making – heightening the vulnerability of damage later in life.
Effects Of Brain Chemistry From Drug Abuse
Once a substance is ingested, whether it is orally, injected or smoked, brain chemistry is altered in a way that the likelihood of a user becoming addicted or dependent skyrockets. These changes ultimately result in a higher tolerance, increased need for the drug, and a higher risk of addiction later in life.
Biological Predisposition To Addiction
Some individuals are born with a predisposition to addiction. This heightened risk of abuse, alongside a person’s environment, accounts for 50% of a user’s addiction vulnerability. Simply put, if a child is born to addict parents, it is essential that they be provided an environment free of addiction if they are to experience a chance at an addiction-free life.
Influence On Drug Use
Peers play a crucial role in regard to substance abuse vulnerability… parents even more so. According to the National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse, adolescents cite their parents as a greater influence when compared to peers in the area of whether or not to experiment with drugs or alcohol.
Addiction Treatment And Recovery
Recovery is not a “one size fits all” situation. Many addicts utilize 12-step programs, while others seek aid through holistic means. Some individuals can manage recovery with a combination of therapy and medication, while others require in-patient care.
As with most ailments, addiction may not respond to the initial treatment attempt. Even in a case where the individual is driven to succeed, it may take numerous attempts before they are able to effectively combat their addiction.
Substance Abuse Prevention
Most experts agree that prevention efforts involving family members, schools, media and the community at large are most effective in regard to substance abuse prevention. When individuals (children, teens, adults) recognize the dangers of substance abuse, statistics show an immediate reduction in use. As such, continued education is vital to the success of substance abuse prevention.
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