What is Addiction?

Adolescent Addiction

Learn about adolescent addiction.2:18
Description

Did you know 95 percent of people addicted to substances started using before they were 20 years old? A part of the adult brain called the frontal lobe considers the risks and benefits before doing something. Because the frontal lobe is not fully formed until adulthood, teens’ reasoning abilities are not as strong. As a result, they are more vulnerable to addiction. Learn to recognize the signs of adolescent addiction and you might save a life.

If you or someone you know is struggling with addiction, find help at addictionrecovery.lds.org.

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    A part of the adult brain, called the frontal lobe, considers the risks and benefits before doing something. It helps hit the brakes when what you're considering is potentially dangerous. Because this frontal lobe isn't fully formed until adulthood, teens' reasoning abilities aren't as strong. As a result, teens are more vulnerable to addiction than adults.

    The teen years are a time for discovering identity. Teens may be attracted to addictive substances and behaviors because of peer pressure, rebellion, emotional or physical pain. This pattern of dependency and addiction can follow them into adulthood.

    However, there are some physical and emotional warning signs of adolescent addiction that you can watch out for--for example, acting uncharacteristically isolated, withdrawn, angry, or depressed; demanding more privacy; locking doors; avoiding eye contact; sneaking around; having bloodshot eyes and often using eye drops to clear their eyes; skipping class; failing grades; getting into trouble at school; missing money, valuables, or prescriptions; dropping one group of friends for another; being secretive about new friends.

    If you notice these signs, there are a few things that adult family members can do to help. Try to have positive interactions on a daily basis to really bond. These don't need to be big formal talks, but just small conversations. Ask open-ended questions. Talk about your day. And really listen to each other.

    Also, set clear rules and expectations about what is appropriate both in and outside of the home. Teens subconsciously want rules to be clear, consistent, and enforced. These things can help prevent addiction from happening in the first place.

    If necessary, there is a lot of help and hope on the road to recovery. If you or someone you love has a problem, get help. Want to learn more about addiction? Find help at addictionrecovery.lds.org.