Substance Abuse and Treatment for Adolescents

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Introduction …...……………………………………………………………………… 2 Statistics ……………………………………………..……………………………...… 2-3 Causes ……………………………………………………………..………………..… 3-4 Outcomes ……………………………………………………………………………..… 4 Treatment ……………………………………………………………………………. 4-7 Conclusion ……………………………………………..……………………………….. 7 References ……………………………………………………………………...….. 8-10

Substance Abuse and Treatment for Adolescents

Introduction
Substance abuse among adolescents is becoming an increasing concern. There are the obvious health issues associated with substance abuse, but many people do not consider the long term affects of drug and alcohol use. In this paper I will discuss substance abuse among teens, causes, statistics, effects of substance abuse, current treatments, and the importance of developing appropriate treatment options for youth. Statistics

Psychologist Gunter Swobota works with adolescent patients with drug and alcohol addictions. While they are able to obtain drugs, such as cocaine, with ease, Swobota feels the biggest problem among teenagers currently is alcohol abuse, which he says is reaching crisis proportions. Swobota, whose research statistics are primarily out of Australia, says that up to 30% of the adolescent population binge drinks at some point, and nearly 75% of those cases have been potentially harmful. He also says this closely compares to adolescents in southern California (Jones, 2009). Interestingly, Swobota says most parents he interacts with are reluctant to admit their children have substance abuse problems. Instead, most refer to their childrens issues as behavioral problem. Most often, the first sign of problems arising are deteriorating grades in school, which prompt parents to seek help (Jones, 2009). Jean Paul Wils, who works for a program for troubled teens in the Netherlands, says that most of the students he works with come from broken homes, and have lived in poverty for most of their lives. The program Wils works for deals primarily with immigrants. It is estimated that 30 – 40% of adolescent immigrants in the Netherlands have alcohol and drug problems. A group of 14-year-olds were interviewed, and over half admitted to drinking. Of those, 75% admitted to binge drinking. Similar stories and statistics of teen alcohol and drug abuse is found in all countries (Jones, 2009). Recent estimates indicate that 53% of adolescents in the United States have experimented with an illicit drug by the time they graduated from high school. Of those, 32% experimented as early as eighth. It is believed that these estimates are extremely low, as they do not account for youth not attending school (Battjes, Gordon, and Kinlock, 2004). Adolescents living in the Northeast and in socioeconomically disadvantaged urban centers are at particularly high risk for marijuana and other illicit drug use (Adorno, Aguayo, Anderson, Black, Hodge, and Simmons, 2008). Causes

Studies have shown that victimization during childhood can be a precursor to substance abuse. Victimization can occur in countless ways, including actual or threatened harm, physical violence, psychological abuse, and neglect. Children are twice as likely as adults to be victimized. Younger children are also more likely to be victimized by older children. Studies have shown that drug and alcohol use may be a coping mechanism for children who have been victimized. It is also proven that adolescents who have experienced victimization have a harder time engaging in substance abuse treatment (Cho, Gotham, And Perron, 2008). The instances of traumatic stress among adolescents in substance abuse treatment centers are high when compared to adolescents in the general community. When youth turn to illegal substances to cope with traumatic stress symptoms, it is a sign that the stress is out of control and needs to be addressed. Most practitioners are not adequately prepared to address traumatic stress. These issues need to be addressed during...
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