The Effects of Substance Abuse on Adolescent

Substance abuse is a major cause of the problems that have seriously affected the youths worldwide. Young people have indulged into substance abuse and have ended up in sad situations of serious addition and other long term effects. The adolescent stage has been known to be the stage that is most susceptible drug abuse. Research has shown that a high percentage of heavy drinkers and drug addict are youth (Feinstein 2006). One of the long term effects which result from substance abuse is poor brain development. The human brain of an adolescent is one that is still undergoing developmental process.

It is known that adolescence is a stage that is particularly critical in the development of a person. At this stage, a person builds up their character and more so determines the life one is to live in the future. Hence, substance abuse destroys the character and behavior of adolescents.Substance abuse has been known to be one of the major causes of poor human development. Substance abuse has also led to critical medicinal disorders that have rendered individuals malfunctioned.

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However, poor brain development is known to be amongst the worst affected parts of the human body. Research has proved that the brain of the youths and teenagers is the most affected during development. This paper shall discuss the effects of substance abuse in teenagers and adolescents. To attain this aim, the paper will begin by identifying the problem caused by substance abuse in adolescents. This will be followed by solutions and findings on the cases of substance abuse in adolescents. The paper will end with a conclusion, which will compare the solutions suggested and recommendations.

Effect of alcohol on brain development

The main problem that comes as a result of substance abuse in youths is drug addiction, which causes the youth to have wild habits. The individual often ends up with ill-social habits and in worse cases become a liability to the family and society. The development of the brain is highly associated with behavioral changes and decision making in any person. It has been known that the brain of an adolescent person is still under development even while in their early 20s. While decision making is a function of the brain, the youths are often prone to making immature decision about their lives.

In this regard, it is worth noting that young people are prone to have serious side effects on due to substance abuse such as drug addiction.During adolescence, the brains of the teenagers develop mostly on the frontal lobe and the outer mantle. These are parts of the brain that re responsible for the behaviors of an individual. That is, setting priorities and controlling impulses. In addition, these parts enhance the understanding of an individual that is associated with following rules and regulation in different codes of discipline (Spear 2002).

At such an age, the young people are not considered to be efficient in making critical decisions in their lives as they are considered immature.Drug addiction is a prime concern to the young people and the community at large. Substance abuse, which leads to drug addiction, can cause severe emotional damage and intellectual impairment. The effect of the drugs on the individual’s brain causes a dysfunction of the nerves in the brain. That is the brain cannot receive and interpret the messages correctly.

As a result, the person becomes psychoactive or dysfunctional.


One of the solutions which can be used in the cases of people struggling with substance abuse is by presenting a treatment program to such individuals. That is the drug addict can be enrolled in a program either in school, college, hospital, or in a rehabilitation center (Feinstein 2006). In these places, the addicts are forced to follow a certain pattern of restricted substance intake. In so doing the individual is enhanced to stick only to the alterative medication that has been provided to him or her.

However, patients undergoing such treatment have to be monitored closely as they can easily backslide.The family also plays a crucial role in the restoration of drug and substance abuse addicts. Most researchers have found out that the teenagers who are involved in substance abuse are supported by their parents and guardians. Often the parents support children with money which they use to buy drugs. Therefore, it is advantageous for parents to participate in the treatment programs of drug and alcohol addicts.

This is because such individuals have a tendency of feeling wasted. Hence, attending such programs and providing support for them goes a long way in helping them reform (McCollum ; Trepper 2001).


In the past studies have been done to reveal the depth of the issue of substance abuse amongst adolescents. Different researchers have used differing criteria and procedure. However, the results have revealed that substance abuse has ruined the future of countless young people. A study done by Jessie Breyer ; Winters (2003) show that 70 percent of high school students are involved in substance abuse.

34 percent of these young people partticipate in the taking of Marijuana which is a highly addictive substance. Overall statistics say that at least half of the adolescents have involved themselves in high substance abuse. Other statistics show that about 45 percent of eighth graders have tried drinking alcohol in their lifetime, while 22 percent have taken illicit drugs.Another research done by the National Institute of Alcohol Abuse And Alcoholism in 2000 reveals that alcohol has severe effects on the human body. Alcohol affects the liver, the endocrine system, bone density, the brain. The effects on the human brain are severe as they may affect all body systems.

Alcohol causes loss of memory especially in adolescents who are addicted to the substance. In severe cases, the individual may get lasting memory loss. This is due to the damage on the frontal lobe part of the brain. Further studies show that continual exposure to alcohol leads to sedative effects, which result to neurophysiological changes.According to research done by Agar ; Miller (2003) alcohol use has been noted to be high in people that are working. This research was done on individual aged from 18 years.

In the study, they found out that up to 76 percent of individuals that use alcohol are full time workers. While the rate, in alcohol use among individual that are not addicted is low in fulltime workers, part time workers have a higher rate of being alcohol addicts.


In conclusion, substance abuse has a serious effect on an individual especially the youths and adolescents. It is beneficial for the society to be involved in the restoration of these young people. In this regard, the rehabilitation center, hospital, and antidrug taking centers play a significant role.

That is all the teenagers and youths that have fallen into the habit of substance abuse should be assisted to reform from illicit behaviors of substance abuse. On the other hand, the family plays a vital role in restoring the young people. Such individuals who have started drug abuse are often people that suffer serious stress and depression. Hence, by appreciating and devoting to help these people goes a long way in helping them recover.It is also helpful for the young person intending to quit substance abuse to get involved in other activities. Youth and teenagers have been known to be people that are energetic.

Hence, an adolescent would require an activity that would help him or her get occupied. Such activities include sports, academic work, or social activities. These will also assist that person realize other abilities and talents.