Chemical Dependency

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Running head: CHEMICAL DEPENDENCY PAPER

Chemical Dependency Paper
Linda D. Miles
University of Phoenix
Child Therapy
MFFC/536
Robert Skaff
October 01, 2008

Chemical Dependency Paper
Chemical Dependency Paper

This paper will discuss Chemical Dependency or Substance Dependency and Substance Abuse in Adolescents; specifically the development, progression and biopsychosocial of dependency and abuse in the adolescent population. The definition of epidemiology and diagnosis will be addressed. Lastly three treatment options including the range of severity will be provided.

There is difference between substance abuse and substance dependence. The distinction between the two is characterized by the role they play in a person’s life. Substance dependence is defined in terms of physiological and behavioral symptoms of substance abuse, and substance abuse in terms of social interaction and consequences. (Wikipedia, 2008)

Substance abuse refers to the repeated and excessive use of drugs that are illegal or harmful to the individual and causes significant adverse consequences. Symptoms in adolescents who are abusing and using substances include: “failure to meet family or school obligations, interpersonal conflicts, legal problems. Other adverse consequences include accidents or injuries, blackouts and risky sexual behavior.” (Wikipedia, 2008)

Substance dependence is when the frequent and repetitive use of drugs becomes habitual and a physical dependence occurs. Substance dependence in adolescents is identifiable by negative physical symptoms, which usually includes tolerance of the drug (requiring higher doses to achieve the same effect) and withdrawal, symptoms experienced when use of the drug is abruptly discontinued. (Wikipedia, 2008)

Adolescents are more venerable than adults to substance abuse due to several developmental factors. Substance abuse can compromise an adolescent’s psychological and social development in areas such as the formation of a strong self-identity, emotional and intellectual growth, establishment of a career, and the development of rewarding personal relationships, which have already been established in the adult.

The Adolescent’s brain is not as developed as an adult’s. Evidence shows that as a result of this, adolescents experience greater feelings of social disinhibition when drinking alcohol or using drugs compared to adults. The adolescent is less sensitive to the effects of intoxication and consume two to three times as much alcohol for their body weight than adults. (Spear, 2008) Developmental features of younger adolescents are different from those of older adolescents. For example, older adolescents are more capable of abstract thinking and are more likely to openly rebel than younger adolescents.

The progression of adolescent substance abuse begins with experimentation, which turns into problem use. Once the adolescent’s use of drugs becomes a problem there is a progression from problem use to the disorder of substance abuse. As stated earlier, substance abuse leads to substance dependence.

It is important to address the biopsychosocial issues around adolescent substance abuse and chemical dependency. In examining the biological, psychological and socials factors the effects of substance abuse and dependency on the adolescent are realized. The three factors interact with one another and produce chemical dependency and substance abuse in the adolescent. The following will discuss each factor individually so that it will be clear how drugs touch all areas; biologically, psychologically and socially of the adolescent’s life.

Adolescent are biologically vulnerable to substance abuse. In the adolescent brain, the centers for judgment and self-control are still developing, resulting in many teens being less than careful about the decisions they make and more open to risk-taking.Drugs are chemicals that enter the brain and mess with the way...
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