Substance use, abuse, and Addiction


Substanceuse, abuse, and Addiction

Adolescentsface many challenges in the transition from childhood to adulthood.Some have problems to do with identity, home, school and their socialrelationships. These problems if left unsolved may act as an urge touse drugs or alcohol. Once adolescents start using alcohol and drugsto run from the problems they experience in life, there is a highlikelihood of dependence. Researchers recognized some risk factorsfor substance use, abuse, and addiction among adolescents. These riskfactors include psychological and environmental factors, genetics,and family history of substance use and addiction (Stephens,Heffner, Adler, Blom, &amp DelBello, 2014).The media and even parents in some cases glamorize taking of alcohol,smoking, and use of other substances thus setting negative examplesto teens, who see nothing wrong in using these substances.

Itis possible to establish links between Substance use, abuse, andaddiction in adolescents and changes in the structure of the brain,functioning, and the neuro-cognition. Research has shown thatadolescent drug and substance users and addicts demonstrate similarabnormalities in the functioning of their brains. It is particularlydue to alterations neuro-cognition in due course during use, abuse,and addiction. Researchers observe these abnormalities in the brain’swhite matter quality, the start of cognitive tasks, and the structurevolume (Clark,Thatcher, &amp Tapert, 2008).

Changesin brain functioning in adolescents differ and depend on thesubstance used and its use pattern. Heavy drinking results to adecrease in cognitive tasks such as attention, memory, and spatialskills. Heavy use of marijuana also results to a decline in thecognitive functioning of the brain, specifically where learning andsequential scores are the case. These changes in brain functions area consequence of volume reduction in vital brain structures andcompromise of the white matter quality.

Adolescentswho have active spiritual lives and develop strong spiritualfoundations when young are less likely to use abuse or becomeaddicted to substances as compared to those who have no religiousbeliefs or guidance (Cotton,Zebracki, Rosenthal, Tsevat, &amp Drotar, 2006).Studies conducted to determine the relationship between spiritualityand addiction reveal that adolescents who have a personal affiliationwith the divine rarely abuse alcohol or drugs. Spiritual development,therefore, acts as a protection against substance use, abuse, anddependence.

Inthe United, Parents and the police have to deal with the growing useof drugs and alcohol among adolescents. The rise is a result of theavailability alcohol and cheaper pure concentrations of several drugslike heroin and cocaine for adolescents to smoke or inhale. Smokingor inhaling these drugs eliminates the stigma associated with usesinjecting it into their bodies with needles (Stephens,Heffner, Adler, Blom, &amp DelBello, 2014).The situation is the same in Arkansas as parents, and the police haveto battle with the rise in use, abuse, and addiction in the alcoholand drugs. Alcohol is the most abused drugs by adolescents inArkansas, followed by Marijuana, Cocaine and Heroin.

Inregards to prevalence, one family in every four has to deal withalcohol and drug addiction of an adolescent (Chen,Sheth, Elliott, &amp Yeager, 2004).Alcoholand Marijuana abuse among adolescents are, therefore, one of the mostprevalent problems in Arkansas. A recent survey conducted in Arkansasrevealed that the addiction to alcohol is first in the list at 41.9%,followed by Marijuana at 19.4% and use of other substances likecocaine and heroin come third at 1.9% among adolescents. Many factorsmay be linked to the cause of the use of drugs and alcohol inArkansas. Some adolescents may fall into it due to peer influencewhile some may fall into alcohol and drug addiction due to theproblems they face in their day-to-day lives. Adolescents in Arkansasmay face problems such as discrimination, bullying, disunity and homeor difficulty with schoolwork. All this problems, if not handledwell, may lead to the use, and eventual addiction of the substancesnamed.

Adolescentsshould engage in positive youth development and cultivate on theirspiritual lives. It acts as protection factors that will help themidentify unmanageable feelings and urges self-destruction thateventually results to drug use, abuse, and addiction.

Thecommon clinical issues that affect adolescents range from fevers,headaches, vomiting and diarrhea to abdominal pains and trauma fromaccidents such as bites, burns, sprains and fractures (Barry,2001).These clinical issues affect adolescents who use alcohol and drugsare more than those who do not. These issues may result to morecomplicated clinical problems eventually.

Thecommon clinical issues that, mainly, affect elderly people have to dowith chronic illnesses. The common chronic illnesses among theelderly are hypertension, heart disease, arthritis, cataracts,hearing loss and strokes (Barry,2001).Just like in adolescents, these health concerns affect t users andaddicts of alcohol and drugs more than those who are not users andaddicts.


Barry,e. a. (2001). SubstanceAbuse and Health Services Adminstration .

Chen,K., Sheth, A., Elliott, D., &amp Yeager, A. (2004). Prevalenceand Correlates of Past-Year Substance, Use, Abuse and Dependance in aSuburban community sample high school. Addictive Behaviors.Prentice Hall.

Clark,D., Thatcher, D., &amp Tapert, S. (2008). Alcohol,Psychological, Dysregulation and Adolescent Brain Development.McGraw Hill.

Cotton,S., Zebracki, K., Rosenthal, L., Tsevat, J., &amp Drotar, D. (2006).Religion/Spirituality and Adolescent Health Outcomes. Journalof Adolescent Health,472-480.

Stephens,J. R., Heffner, J. L., Adler, C. M., Blom, T. J., &amp DelBello, M.P. (2014, July). Risk and Protective Factors Associated withSubstance Use Disorders in Adolescents With First- Episode Mania.Journalof Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, 53(7),771-779.