It’s difficult for most people suffering from an addiction to admit that they are struggling and need help. Many may not even admit to themselves that they need support. This is certainly the case for young people, and that’s part of why adolescent substance use can be so particularly destructive for this group.
How Can We Reduce Adolescent Substance Use?
Denial is at its most dangerous when it plays a role in the life of someone who has an addiction. For young people, denying an addiction can mean denying the opportunity to recover, to grow beyond the substance abuse, and to find help. He or she may not even think that they have a problem, and if they do, they may feel too embarrassed or ashamed to seek aid. If parents suspect but don’t question, they are enabling the behavior and allowing it to continue down a perilous road.
It may be easier for parents to not ask questions, but this is how so many tragedies befall families wherein the son or daughter is struggling with addiction. Conversations surrounding adolescent substance use may be uncomfortable, and often painful, but that is a necessary step in order to find real help for these young people. That is, if they are unable to help themselves, others who see the behavior must step in so that their loved ones can recover safely.
“As substance use becomes more serious, denial just gets more powerful with the young person stubbornly refusing to acknowledge how the need for, and effect of substance use is altering their life.” The worse the problem is, the stronger that denial often grows. Similarly, in some cases, the more a person points out the issue, the more the patient denies it. Again, this is frequently the situation surrounding adolescent substance use, which is why it can be so agonizing for parents and others to find help for the teen. That young person will usually downplay the issue… certainly externally, if not also within themselves.
Unfortunately, this problem is only exacerbated by the culture surrounding teenagers and the pressure that they put onto each other. Going to parties, drinking in dorms, smoking around campus… whatever the situation, the influence of others cannot be underestimated. It has a huge strength to it, and a person who doesn’t have inherently bad judgment might ‘give it a try’ because of the sway of others. That teen may be trying to impress his or her fellows, or they might have been pushed into it, but whatever the case, social influence has a strong impact on the prevalence of teen drug and alcohol use (and overuse).
“Denial doesn’t prevent problems, denial protects and protracts problems.” Parents’ and teens’ denial, or fear, can have dangerous consequences. Addiction can happen to anyone, and teenagers run a high risk of at least abusing drugs and alcohol based on the actions of their peer groups. They’re even more at risk if there additional issues, such as family history, past abuse, impulsive tendencies, and more. Put simply, there are a lot of reasons that a young person might become addicted, but the bottom line is always that someone has to be able to step in and help them reach sobriety again.
If you need some professional help to combat adolescent substance use of any kind, then contact The Bergand Group. We offer recovery programs for yourself or for others or are seeking education materials about addictions. The Bergand Group is Maryland’s leading addiction recovery center and offers support for those struggling with addiction and mental health issues, including direction for those who may be denying an addiction. We can help you to work through your addiction in a safe and healthy environment where everyone is committed to your care.
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About The Bergand Group:
At The Bergand Group in Baltimore and Harford County, Maryland, our therapists have more than twenty years of experience in the mental health and addiction fields. Our focus is on providing comprehensive mental health care and appropriate care for addictive disorders. We offer both alcohol rehab and drug rehabilitation. If you or someone you know is struggling with alcohol or substance addiction, there is help available. We also offer several other services, including family therapy and counseling. We can help. Contact us today.[/fusion_builder_column][/fusion_builder_row][/fusion_builder_container]