Adolescent Substance Abuse
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Although it is important to recognize and assess the extent to which the problem of adolescent substance abuse in America, it is yet another to understand what can be done to curb its rise and its unwanted usefulness to young people as well as design an effective treatment program. Chemical and alcohol substance abuse is on the rise in teenagers. The success of any medical and or psychological adolescent substance abuse counseling and treatment program lies first in those who offer the service.
Adolescent Abuser’s Treatment
According to The Office of Adolescent Health, in the case of Adolescent treatment there must exist an involvement by all individuals viewed as significant within the Adolescent active substance abuser’s environment, namely;
Without a combined infrastructure there is little hope of program success. Once the aforementioned components are assembled the treatment of adolescent substance abuse, including alcohol abuse can begin.
Abuser’s Behavior and Social Theories
The development of preventive interventions must establish the goal of not only changing the attitude of the abusive individual toward himself or herself and toward drug use but to follow the social learning theory approach of Bandura. According to the social learning theory of change child behavior is the result of a complex and reciprocal interaction between both personal and environmental factors. Therefore, to effectuate change in attitude, an abuser’s beliefs, thinking processes (cognition), and emotions - which taken together are what we call attitudes - must be looked at in combination to one another and from within the self as well as from the stimulus received from the external and social environment. To change a behavior such as substance abuse the combined effects of the environment and an individual’s attitudes must be assessed and evaluated. Once the evaluation is complete, or at least as complete as possible, a treatment program can be brought to bear. Following this model of attitude development the treatment program becomes one of protecting Adolescents against the effects of social pressure by equipping them with the cognitive and behavioral skills to recognize and resist such pressure. The components of such a program should include behavioral skills training; providing information about the immediate, negative, social, and physiological consequences of alcohol and other drug use; providing useful skills in recognizing peer, parent, and mass media influences; and securing government funds to ensure that a program will not be interrupted.
For today’s young people, drug abuse among youths is a growing problem. The stereotype of adolescents relying on corner drug dealers or fake IDs to purchase alcohol are no longer the only elements to be addressed; adolescents in today’s society turn to substance abuse for a number of reasons and in a number of ways, and it is imperative that this be addressed expediently. Any kind of adolescent is susceptible to substance abuse; they do not have to be a troublemaker or earn low grades in school. Further, substance abuse can run the gamut from traditional drugs, like alcohol or marijuana, to ones that have become increasingly common in recent years, such as prescription abuse. Some young people are turning to alternative drugs, such as synthetic marijuana, so-called “bath salts”, or aerosolized products, as a means of overcoming the stress or the pain they are experiencing. These, further, are the primary causes of adolescent substance abuse: stress or pain. While peer pressure certainly plays a role, many adolescents seek substance abuse for the same reasons adults do: to deal with the pain or the stress they are enduring at any one given time. Failure to address this in the adolescent population can have dire effects for our children and our society.