Tag Archives: Adolescent Addiction

Tag Archives: Adolescent Addiction


Adolescent male recovering from addiction As parents and community leaders, it’s incredibly hard to see our teens struggle with substance abuse. The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) highlights that people are most likely to begin abusing drugs by adolescence, and this can be due to a number of reasons:

  • Wanting to try new experiences
  • An attempt at dealing with problems or to get a “boost” in school
  • Peer pressure
  • And more

Violence, physical or emotional abuse, mental illness, and positive associations with drugs at home can greatly increase an adolescent’s chances of abusing drugs – but some adolescents naturally have less impulse control, and their personality traits can give them a need for “excitement” – which can also pave the way towards addiction. Male adolescents are often don’t get enough attention when it comes to substance abuse, because of the common theory that “boys will be boys” or the assumption that substance use will simply be a phase in their life. If not addressed early, male adolescent substance abuse can transform to lifelong addiction – and if this is something your concerned about for your teen, it’s time to seek help.

Signs Your Pre-Teen Is Abusing Drugs

First and foremost, you’ll be able to tell if your teen is abusing substance by the way they interact with you, as well as their general behavior and how they’re related to their peers and schoolwork. Your pre-teen may suddenly change their peer group – and if you keep a close eye on their friends, you may easily be able to tell if they’ve started spending time with friends who are also using. Since the adolescent brain is still developing, drugs can have a significant impact on the way your pre-teen behaves. Watch out for these signs:

  • No longer caring about appearance
  • Difficulty performing well in school
  • Missing class or skipping school altogether
  • Lack of interest in activities they were once interested in
  • Changes in eating or sleeping habits
  • Damaging relationships with family members and friends

One man, now an adult, shared his story of struggling with marijuana abuse as an adolescent through Prevent Teen Drug Abuse. Here is an excerpt from his story:

“My first real hit of marijuana at age 12 sparked a slow death…I continued to smoke and soon became a shell of a person, paranoid and emaciated after an eating disorder that just popped up out of nowhere.”

He noted that all while he was struggling with this addiction, he received little to no help – because smoking marijuana was concerned such a “norm” that nobody perceived him to be going through any trouble.

How Can We Help Our Adolescents?

Previous studies have explored the many approaches we can take towards helping male adolescents recover from addiction. A 2015 study published in the Journal of Substance Abuse Treatment found that readiness to change can have a significant impact for adolescents to get the most out of treatment – but how can we help them feel “ready”?

There are many elements to treatment that can help our adolescents feel ready for healing and restoration in recovery:

12-Step Programs

Adolescents continue to face physical, mental and spiritual issues that hold them back from living a life that’s most meaningful to them. As a 2018 study published in the journal Substance Abuse: Research and Treatment denoted that 12-Step programs can not only help adolescents become more engaged in treatment but can also lead to greater abstinence over time.

Service Work

Many adolescents feel they’re either invincible, or that they’re all alone in their problems. Service work is a clear reminder that they’re human – and that in being part of the human race, they have something special to offer others. In 2016, researchers published a study in the journal Alcoholism Treatment Quarterly which found that higher service to others was related to reduced recidivism, reduced relapse, and greater character development.

Exploration and Activities

Despite struggling with substance abuse, adolescents respond to fun, encouraging activities that get them fully emerged in the present moment. Horseback riding, ropes courses, rock climbing, canoeing and so much more can give adolescents the boost they need to build a sense of community, push past their barriers and learn more about themselves – all at the same time.

School Support

Qualified special education teachers can provide adolescents with the support they need to get through school while pursuing treatment. If you have a teen who needs help, they can recover without sacrificing one of the most important milestones of their life.

Cumberland Heights: Adolescent Extended Care

If your teen is ready to tackle their addiction, speak with a professional from Cumberland Heights today. Our Adolescent Extended Care program provides everything your adolescent needs and more.

Cumberland Heights is a nonprofit alcohol and drug-addiction treatment center located on the banks of the Cumberland river in Nashville, Tennessee. On a sprawling 177-acre campus, we are made up of 2 12-Step immersion campuses, 12 outpatient recovery centers and 4 sober living homes. We believe that each person has a unique story to tell – and that’s why we always put the patient first.

Boy adolescent struggling with addictionDespite the fact that we’ve all been adolescents at one point or another, it becomes harder and harder as we get older to reel into the mindset that we held at that age. Even now, adolescents face unique pressures than adolescents 10 years ago; how can we tell what they’re really thinking? When substance abuse is involved, the quest to fulfill our youth’s needs becomes evermore challenging. We’re left in disarray as we scramble to find the answers – but without having a deep remembrance of what it’s like be an adolescent, we rely on punishments, strict curfews and serious talks – hoping that will solve our problems. Thankfully, researchers have explored the very responses that adolescents need during times of trial and tribulation – and this type of research can be used to benefit us in our own family experiences.

If you have an adolescent who’s been acting out, getting into trouble at school, home, or with the law and abusing substances, there is a path of healing for them. It will take time, effort and additional resources – but recovery is certainly possible and could even save their life. Three particular studies – one published in the International Journal of Criminology and Sociology, another published in the Journal of Adolescent Research and yet another published in the journal Spirituality in Clinical Practice assessed adolescent addiction recovery from diverse perspectives. Of all three studies, these were the most effective response methods shown to help adolescents recover from substance abuse disorders (SUDs):

  • Service to others – by helping others through volunteerism, adolescents are likely to be reminded of the many ways they can make a difference in this world. It promotes community, acceptance and overall purpose.
  • Love – many adolescents experience bullying or problems at home; love and kindness in recovery can promote their mind – and their heart – to remain open.
  • Social activities – as human beings, we’re social creatures. We thrive on being around other people and feeling a sense of inclusion. Adolescents have been shown to thrive when engaged in social activities as part of recovery – because it gives them a chance to reconnect with others in fun, meaningful ways.
  • Spirituality – 12-Step programs, in addition to learning the importance of love, kindness, respect, gratitude and community, can all have significant positive influences on adolescents’ addiction recovery.

Don’t wait any longer to speak with a professional from Cumberland Heights regarding you or your child’s struggle with addiction. Healing and restoration is right around the corner – it’s up to you to take the first step.

Cumberland Heights is a nonprofit alcohol and drug-addiction treatment center located on the banks of the Cumberland river in Nashville, Tennessee. On a sprawling 177-acre campus, we are made up of 2 12-Step immersion campuses, 12 outpatient recovery centers and 4 sober living homes. We believe that each person has a unique story to tell – and that’s why we always put the patient first.

Boy addicted to marijuanaThere are many ways to smoke marijuana, which make it very difficult for parents to detect. The American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry reminds us of several methods that teens may use to smoke marijuana, such as: smoking through a rolled cigarette or bong, vaping (smoking through an electronic cigarette), eating “edible” goods, drinking beverages with marijuana products in them and using oils that can be applied to the skin. According to Very Well Mind, 53% of adolescents report using marijuana for the first time between the ages of 12 and 17.

While most adolescents believe that marijuana causes little harm, addiction is never a healthy outcome and there are significant effects that marijuana can have on the adolescent brain, especially as it is still developing. A 2015 review published in the journal Current Pharmaceutical Design emphasized that teens who use marijuana exhibit “disadvantages in neurocognitive performance, macrostructural and microstructural brain development, and alterations in brain functioning.”

What does this mean? It means that marijuana can make it more difficult for adolescents in the realms of attention and learning, impulse control and executive functioning. During adolescence, the brain is developing executive functioning, such as emotional self-control. The brain already has cannabinoids, which is what cannabis clings to when consumed – but rather than improving functioning, adolescents will likely find that disrupts processes such as memory, sleeping, eating and movement. The Scientific American argues that it’s these very changes that are concerning – especially to a brain that is still in its developing stage.

If you think your teen may be abusing marijuana, keep an eye out for the following:

  • Having trouble at school
  • Coming home with red eyes
  • Acting very silly for no particular reason
  • Spending a lot of time with friends who use marijuana
  • And more

If your teen is ready to begin their journey to recovery, speak with a professional from Cumberland Heights today. The sooner they seek help, the better their chances of preventing future addiction.

Adolescent Recovery of Cumberland Heights (ARCH) originally began in 1985 when there were few other adolescent programs like it in the country. In 2019, we’re expanding our continuum of services with ARCH Academy, a unique program that offers 60 days to 6 months of residential care to adolescent boys ages 14-18 who are struggling with alcohol and/or drug addiction. This new program stems from Cumberland Heights, which has been around since 1966 and is located in Kingston Springs, Tennessee. The adolescent age is a critical time for development, making this a crucial time of positive influence. For more information, call us today at 1-800-646-9998.


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