Adolescence has very often been associated with alcohol and drug abuse. But, before we discuss that, let us first understand the meaning of adolescence. Adolescence is a period that links childhood and adulthood in one’s life. The age between 12 to 18 years is usually considered as the adolescent age, which is also known as Teenage.
The teenage period of life is considered very crucial in a person’s life as it is the time when a lot of physical, as well as psychological changes occur. Most teenagers can be influenced by many external and internal factors. This emotional upheaval makes adolescents vulnerable to alcohol and drug use. Once they are exposed to the use of alcohol and drugs, it is highly likely for them to get addicted to them thus resulting in alcohol and drug abuse. Increasing stress and peer pressure on adolescents today has also led to drug and alcohol abuse.
During the teenage period of life, addiction occurs when there is frequent use of drugs and there will be changes in brain function over time. The changeover from voluntary to compulsive drug use reproduces changes in the brain’s natural inhibition.
Alcohol and Drug Abuse
Addiction is the attachment to the psychological effects of any substance. For example, consumption of drugs and alcohol gives a temporary feeling of euphoria. People get attached to this sense of euphoria and start consuming drugs and alcohol even when it is not required. Thus, the prolonged use of drugs and alcohol makes the body used to it and increases its tolerance level. As a result, a higher dose of drug or alcohol is required to get euphoric. This cycle keeps on repeating until it leads to addiction.
Hence, it is wise to stay away from alcohol and drug addiction. But if a person is addicted to them, he/she should gradually give up on these habits as sudden discontinuation can lead to ‘withdrawal syndrome’. In such a case, the person suffers extreme anxiety, diarrhoea, tightness in the chest, sweating, difficulty in breathing, shivering and becomes fidgety.
Effects of Alcohol and Drug Abuse
- Immediate physical effects might result in extreme rough behaviour. However, a very high dosage might lead to death in extreme cases.
- A person suffering from alcohol or drug abuse commonly becomes dull, antisocial, depressed, tired, aggressive, etc.
- Intravenous drug consumption might lead to the transmission of many infectious diseases like AIDS if the same syringe is shared among multiple people.
- Alcohol usage ultimately leads to the failure of vital organs like the liver and kidneys.
Prevention and Control
- Medical help in situations where counselling and talking cannot help.
- Counselling and education are some of the best ways of dealing with cases of alcohol and drug abuse.
- Avoidance of peer pressure could help in bringing down these habits to a large extent. Help from family and friends could do a lot of damage control as people are closer to family and friends. Hence, talking to our loved ones helps in coming up with such situations.
- There are many rehabilitation centres mainly launched to help the alcohol and drug abuse patients from exerting control over the impulse to use drugs even when there are negative consequences.
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