Substance abuse is an umbrella term used to refer to the harmful or hazardous use of psychoactive substances, including alcohol and illicit drugs. Adolescents and teens with substance use disorders face challenges that adults living with addiction do not.
Teen substance abuse comes with all of the usual risks of addiction, but those risks are compounded by the fact that young people are still growing and developing. Young bodies and brains are more vulnerable to the toxic effects of drugs and alcohol.
For many, abusing addictive substances is a quiet cry for help, veiled under rebellious or experimental behaviors. This makes it imperative to understand the differences and know the signs.
Teen substance abuse may manifest as deteriorating school performance, withdrawal from activities and friends, depression, mood swings, and noticeable changes in physical appearance or hygiene.