Importance of Preventing Drug Addiction During Adolescence
Adolescence is a critical developmental phase when one undergoes a number of internal and external changes that affect one’s physical and mental development and health. Any kind of experimentation, particularly related to substances, run the risk of turning into a habit that can make or break a person’s future. Moreover, any major traumatic or life-changing experience can greatly derail one’s natural course of growth and even push one toward drug use as a mean to cope with abrupt and debilitating changes. Therefore, it is essential to ensure effective prevention measures to enable one to hope for the best and prepare for the worst.
It is now a well-established fact that people are at an increased risk of falling into the vicious cycle of abuse, particularly during their adolescence. Although a person’s propensity to use drugs is more marked during the early development stages of adolescence, it can linger till the early adulthood (age 25), when the rational part of a teen’s brain gets fully matured.
One of the primary reasons behind the increased chances of developing an addiction in adolescence is the way brain function in teenagers. While adults think with the prefrontal cortex that is responsible for responding to situations with good judgment, adolescents take decisions with the emotional part of the brain known as the amygdala. Teenagers are still on the verge of developing a connection between the emotional and decision-making portions of the brain.
The early introduction to drug use significantly increases a person’s chances of developing an addiction in the future. It also causes the brain to artificially produce large amounts of dopamine, which is a chemical that is released in the brain when a person is rewarded. Canada Drugs Direct
When the level of dopamine continues to increase due to frequent drug use, the brain naturally cuts down its own dopamine production to compensate for the surplus. Substantial research suggests that the changes brought on by drug abuse during adolescence have far greater negative mental and physical consequences than in any other developmental stage.
Reasons that spur drug abuse among adolescents
Teenagers can develop an addiction due to various factors such as a sudden change in their environment or due to other external and biological reasons. Sometimes moving to a new location or changing schools, transitioning from elementary to middle school, etc., can prove to be difficult for teenagers. Moreover, peer pressure, especially during high school years, and the easy access to drugs may push susceptible teenagers toward experimenting with drugs or other illicit substances.