Friday, November 14, 2014

Adolescence: Problems and Causes of drug / alcohol abuse

Adolescence is ‘a period’ and ‘a process’ during which a child becomes mature in terms of his/her attitudes and beliefs for effective participation in society.

Adolescence is a bridge linking childhood and adulthood (period of 12-18 years of age). It is very vulnerable phase of mental and psychological development.

Causes of drug/alcohol use in
Adolescence period

  • Curiosity and Experimentation.
  • Need for adventure and excitement.
  • To escape facing problems.
  • Stress from pressure to excel in academics or examination.
  • Television, movies, news papers, internet etc.
  • Unstable or unsupportive family structures & peer pressure.
Effects of Drug/alcohol abuse

  • Reckless behavior, vandalism and violence.
  • Coma and death due to respiratory failure, heart failure or cerebral hemorrhage.
  • Drugs+ alcohol= Death.
  • Drop in academic performance and absence from school.
  • Lack of interest in personal hygiene.
  • Withdrawal and isolation.
  • Depression, fatigue, aggressive and rebellious behavior, deteriorating relationship between family and friends.
  • Loss of interest in hobbies.
  • Fluctuations in sleeping, eating habits, weight, appetite etc.
  • Social problems like stealing and spread of infectious diseases (e.g. AIDS, hepatitis B).
  • Damage of nervous system and cirrhosis.
  • Use of drugs and alcohol by pregnant woman adversely affect the foetus.
  • Misuse of drugs by athletes (e.g. narcotic analgesics, anabolic steroids, diuretics & certain hormones to increase muscle strength and bulk and to promote aggressiveness).
Side effects of anabolic steroid abuse


In males:
  • Acne. 
  • Increased aggressiveness. 
  • Mood swings & depression. 
  • Reduced testicles. 
  • Decreased sperm. 
  • Kidney & liver dysfunction. 
  • Breast enlargement. 
  • Premature baldness 
  • Enlargement of prostate gland. 
In females:
  • Masculanisation 
  • Mood swings & depression 
  • Increased aggressiveness 
  • Excessive hair growth 
  • Abnormal menstrual cycle 
  • Deepening of voice 
  • Enlargement of clitoris 
In the adolescent male and female: Severe facial and body acne, premature closure of the growth centres of the long bones resulting in stunted growth.

Prevention and control


1. Avoid undue peer pressure.

2. Education and counseling.

3. Seeking help from parents and peers.

4. Looking for danger signs.

5. Seeking professional and medical help. E.g. Psychologists and psychiatrists. De-addiction and rehabilitation programs.

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