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I am studying drug abuse in adolescents and thought I 'd ask a psychologist for additional information. The first part of this three part question is how do genetics and environmental forces affect drug abuse in adolescents. Second, how does the unbalanced neurological development of an adolescent affect drug abuse. Finally, how is our culture unfriendly to adolescents who abuse drugs?
Hi there! My name is XXXXX XXXXX I am a licensed psychotherapist, and I hope to be of some assistance to you here today!
In my opinion, environmental forces can be huge! If a person is brought up watching drug abuse, or is surrounded by stress and anxiety and is looking for a way out of that, drugs might offer relief. Genetics may effect them if they have an addictive personality or drug/alcohol abuse runs in the family.
Second, if a child is already out of balance and suffering from the rush of hormones and other potential conditions such as ADD/ADHD, drugs may again be attractive due to their potential for relief from pain, anxiety, social exclusion or other issues. Also, kids are basically "wired" to want to be accepted and to fit in, and so peer pressure can be huge for a kid who is looking to belong.
Third question: I would say that our culture is unfriendly to adolescents who use drugs because they get labeled as "stoners" and such, and many adults just get angry with them, inflicting punishment without trying to get to the root of the child's attraction to the drugs in the first place. Teens are in such a precarious spot--- they act like adults while feeling like children, and the pressures they face are real. Teaching them how to deal with emotions like stress and rejection and failure is extremely valuable so that they just don't develop a pattern of avoidance of pain and self-medication with drugs or alcohol. Also, social anxiety is huge at this age and teens will turn to drugs to make them feel less self-conscious, so self-esteem work is also very helpful, as well.
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