You can get addicted to alcohol, nicotine, opioid painkillers, and other legal substances quite easily, especially if addiction and alcoholism run in that person’s family. There are also more effects than just withdrawals or diseases that come along with addiction; depression and anxiety can take part in your life when you become addicted. Even though anyone could fall into addiction, youths can be more at risk than adults are, especially due to the increase in vaping. A teen’s brain is not fully developed, creating many opportunities for addiction to take action. Not only are youths less mature, but there are also many other things that motivate youth to become addicted in the first place.
Vaping in teens has increased dramatically since 2017 (Teen Vaping soared in 2018 2018). The CEO of a top e-cig brand said other e-cig manufacturers used flavorings “to attract children” (Vaping 2018). Ten months later that same company’s CEO introduced a flavor named “Butter Crumble” and other berry flavors ( Fact 265 2018). It is a fact that there is more smoking in TV shows rated TV-PG than in TV shows rated TV-14. In other words, smoking is not only trying to tempt and lure youths in, they are targeting them. These companies have a large effect on teens and children to motivate them into trying new flavors and eventually get them hooked on nicotine. These flavors are found to be appealing to children, and even though the CEO of the company JUUL said they would help to stop teen vaping, many people will say they did not put in enough effort to fix the problem.
Vaping could be seen as a gateway drug and may even cause teens to start smoking cigarettes. People’s bodies build tolerances for nicotine, first, a person could start on a low nicotine intake, then when that does not satisfy them, they start increasing and increasing the amount of nicotine they take into their bodies, and soon, they find themselves wanting more and more of the substance and they keep their addiction thriving. The scary thing is seeing teens start at such a young age is that they might never stop. Their body is used to nicotine and the youths do not see issues just yet other than that they are short on money. But the effects that smoking cigarettes or vaping have on anyone can be life-threatening. 82.4% of lung cancer deaths are attributable to smoking, and about one-third of youths smokers will die from a tobacco-related disease, including COPD, Heart Disease, Asthma, Diabetes, and many more. There is the potential of there being 1 billion tobacco deaths worldwide in the 21st century if current trends continue (Fact 141 2018). So, nicotine addiction in teens is not heading in a good direction and other addictions are right behind it.
People who experience drugs and alcohol earlier on will most likely develop a drug abuse issue when they are older (Teen Drug Addiction 2012). At first, some will choose to take a drug because they like the way it makes their body feel, which is dopamine, a chemical that releases happy feelings in the body. It can become a habit, then it turns into abuse. Some may think they can control how much and how often they use it when they can not. But over time, your brain functions change. These physical changes can last a long time. They make you lose self-control and can lead you to damaging behaviors. People who are addicted become less motivated or less excited about things because they start to revolve their life around their drugs. They might start to miss work or school and also generate problems within those areas.
They tend to become isolated and will start to lie to and blame the closest people in their life, causing issues with their family and friends. They are always in denial and try to rationalize their issues by doing so (Symptoms and Signs of Addiction 2018). This can completely destroy their social life. Money will start to become an issue for them since they might be missing work and spending their money on drugs. Even their emotions will start to go out of sorts. The eating habits of an addict will change due to a lack of appetite or an increase in appetite. Your body will become overall unhealthy and will cause your lifespan to decrease drastically. Addiction can completely destroy a person’s mind and body and will take all their energy.
Drug addiction generally starts in the pre-teen or teen years. This time in young people’s lives is when they often like to experiment with and use drugs or alcohol, and many get hooked. The problem is that the brain hasn’t fully developed, and won’t be until age 25 or so, meaning it is easier for your brain to get ‘rewired’ or pick up new habits when you use drugs earlier on, and kids are easily influenced during this time (Drug Addiction and Poverty 2018). Adults think with the prefrontal cortex, the brain’s rational part. This is the part of the brain that responds to situations with good judgment and an awareness of long-term consequences. Teens process information with the amygdala, which is the emotional part of the brain (Understanding the Teen Brain 2019), so it is easy to say some teens use drugs like marijuana to deal with their pre-existing depression and/or anxiety, even if it’s not helping at all. Your brain is wired to make you want to repeat experiences that make you feel good.
So you’re motivated to do them again and again. Drugs are mind and mood-altering drug which produces all the effects required to satisfy even the most stringent definition of addiction (Treating nicotine addiction 1988). This is why it’s so hard to quit. A drug addict’s whole brain chemistry alters. Once a person is caught up in the cycle of addiction, they will do almost anything to gain a steady supply of their drug. Some people think drug addicts can just stop, but they can’t. For someone to end addiction, they need to go through a whole cleansing of their body and their mind. They need to practically relearn everything and they need to learn how to say “no” to addiction. Some people may never even fully recover from addiction because it had that much of an effect on their body and their mind.
Peer pressure has a drastic effect on teens. Teens can get almost motivated to use substances that can get them addicted or to abuse drinking alcohol. They are six times more likely to drink if their friends drink. To youths, addiction isn’t in the picture when they use drugs or alcohol, and being cool and rebellious is. A study done by the National Institute on Drug Abuse found that teens are more likely to act out risky behaviors if they know their friends are watching, and this truly does show. Youths do not think of the consequences. The impetuous choices at the moment can influence one to deviate from regular decision-making habits and cause them to make bad decisions.
So youths are more likely to gain an addiction if their friends have an addiction because the environment we live in and the people we surround ourselves with have a huge influence on our lives. It affects how we live, how we act/behave, and the characteristics we portray. For example, if an individual is surrounded by addicts or alcoholics, the chance of that person becoming an addict or alcoholic increases greatly. If an individual surrounds themselves with motivated, intellectual people, the chance of that person achieving success and being smart with their choices will rise. It’s all that you make of it. Though, Some may not be able to control their environment or situation.
People with lower income or those who live in environments that are not conducive to economic growth are more at risk of being victims of drug abuse than somebody who does not receive low income (Drug Addiction and Poverty 2018). Some people who are in poverty and also are addicts can find it hard to get help or a rehabilitation center because those who live in poverty have fewer chances of entering rehab than those who are better off financially merely due to the fact that they cannot afford to pay for it. In addition, those who live in poverty and attempt to quit drugs are oftentimes more exposed to the drug trade. People in poverty-stricken areas find that the selling of drugs can offer them fast money, and enough to pay rent. For someone who is not used to having a lot of money, the idea of making a few hundred dollars in a day by selling drugs is very appealing, and sometimes, their only choice. But Drug abuse and addiction do not only affect homes of low income. People who are good financially can be affected even if they live in a good environment.
Especially with the opioid epidemic, it has shown us that people from all walks of life and economic backgrounds can fall into drug addiction. For example, there is always news about celebrities dying from accidental overdoses and while there is a higher risk of becoming addicted for the uneducated, those who drop out of school, or for the people who have a low income, parents need to keep a close eye on who their teens are hanging out with to protect them from addiction.
Some people call addiction a disease, and some people say it’s that person’s fault and that they did it to themselves. Yes, that person did make the choice to put that drug into their body but that shouldn’t determine whether it’s a disease or not. If a person goes into the cold without a coat on and they get sick, does that necessarily mean that it’s their fault? It’s the same with a person who’s fallen into addiction, they know there could be consequences, but it’s not thoroughly thought of.
Though it may feel impossible for the addicts, they can and some do overcome addiction. Examine obesity, a non-chemical substance, or addiction to heroin, a chemical substance, these are both subjected to one’s mind and influences emotion and motivation in the brain. People recover from obesity, due to determination and hard work. If a person wants to stop being addicted to drugs, they must use mind power and find motivation and determination to achieve their goal. What people choose to put their mind to depends on that person, and they have the potential of finding themselves again. It is questionable if drug use could be stopped, or if it will always exist. Drugs have been around for years, and there are no signs of a huge decrease in drug use. Drugs will be around for so many years to come but that does not mean they cannot be prevented. Programs held by schools and fundraisers for poverty can help. Along with being aware of the consequences of your actions.
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