Today, many young people use recreational drugs , a fact that has become a major public health phenomenon. Among the drugs and substances most commonly consumed are alcohol , nicotine and cannabis , although the trend indicates that cocaine, designer drugs, stimulants and amphetamines are currently increasing.. The greater vulnerability of adolescents to drugs, according to experts in Psychology , is probably due to intrinsic factors of that stage of life. The young man establishes his own identity , and for this he must become independent of his parents and prepare for the different roles that he can play.
Are there risk factors for substance abuse in adolescence?
There are different risk factors , such as social, affective or personality.
- Individual and social risk factors : highlights the cost and availability of the substance:
o The pressure of the group of friends and the possibility of other sources of gratification.
o Family and community factors : educational factors .
o Genetic and environmental influences .
- Family and school risk factors :
o Chaotic family environment with parents with serious problems and lack of affective bonding.
o School failure , inability to handle adverse situations.
o Personality factors : excessively shy or aggressive behavior in their social relationships.
- Protective factors :
o Adequate family bonds
o Prevention programs in schools
o Family-oriented prevention programs
How is substance dependence diagnosed?
The diagnosis of dependence in turn requires a set of cognitive, behavioral, physiological symptoms and other manifestations that develop after repeated substance use and that includes the craving, that is, the desire to consume and difficulty controlling their use.
In interviews with adolescents with behavioral problems, a thorough assessment of the use of substances is required.
Symptoms of Substance Abuse in Adolescence
- Acute symptoms : they are produced by intoxication of the substance or by withdrawal from it.
- Chronic symptoms : are those derived from the usual use of the substance
- Early Symptoms of Abuse. Dependence on children and youth:
o Decreased school performance
o Changing friendships
o Transformation in the way you dress and talk
o Changes in behavior, sullen, irritable
o Insatiable need for money and change in their schedules and activities
o Changes in sleep and eating.
Treatment of people addicted to substances
The primary goal of treatment is to achieve and maintain abstinence. To this end, the therapeutic programs must include a vocational counseling service, recreational activities and medical services.
The treatment modality that has achieved better results with adolescents is family therapy , sometimes combined with individual therapy. However, at times, and depending on the physical symptoms or dependence / abstinence, the use of some type of medication is necessary .