Many adolescents face peer pressure and temptations related to substance use. Some teens may impulsively experiment with drugs without knowing the consequences. It makes sense that teens don’t know the consequences, as many adults are also unaware of the long-term effects of substance abuse. Unfortunately, these effects can include undesirable changes to one’s mental and physical health. Prolonged substance use can lead to substance use disorder (SUD) and co-occurring mental health conditions. A dual diagnosis like this can be more difficult to address. Fortunately, seeking professional care with Clearview Girls Academy can educate teens and guide them in attaining and maintaining long-term sobriety.

What Is Substance Use Disorder?

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), SUD can be defined as a chronic brain disease. It is a mental illness that goes beyond a slight dependency. SUD can structurally change one’s brain and alter mood and cognition. The condition is comprised of behavioral, physiological, and cognitive symptoms. The symptoms of SUD can range from mild, moderate, to severe. Anyone of any gender, race, social class, or income level may be at risk of developing SUD.

An individual with SUD may continue to misuse drugs even while knowing the risks involved with persistent substance use. However, reporting these patterns of drug use and describing the severity of symptoms can help a specialist diagnose the condition.

Teen Substance Abuse Statistics

Based on a separate CDC webpage, although a majority of youth are in good health, many adolescents are at an increased risk for developing dangerous behaviors that jeopardize their health. Addictive behaviors, high-risk substance use, and certain conditions may put one at risk for enduring poor health outcomes.

Many adults who have an SUD diagnosis report the onset of their drug use began in their teen and young adult years. The CDC states that young people with SUD experience elevated rates of mental and physical health complications. These adolescents also experience diminished well-being, health problems, and a potential progression to severe addiction.

Adolescents who misuse prescription drugs, inject drugs, or use illicit drugs may be at an increased risk of experiencing an accidental injury, contracting diseases, dropping out of school, having problems with criminal justice, and death. Research indicates that approximately 15% of high school students have reported using drugs. For example, teens reported using heroin, cocaine, methamphetamines, hallucinogens, inhalants, or ecstasy. Some surveys have also found that about 14% of students abuse prescription opioids.

The Effects of Substance Abuse

The moment a drug enters someone’s bloodstream, they may feel instantaneous effects. The intensity and effects of the chosen drug strongly depend on an individual’s tolerance to the substance. An individual who has been misusing drugs for a protracted period and has a high tolerance to SUD may typically use more of the substance to gain their desired effect. However, this only puts them at an increased risk of experiencing toxicity or having a drug overdose.

The effects of SUD commonly include:

  • Engaging in risky behaviors
  • Experiencing mood swings or aggression
  • Having a poor immune system

Long-term effects can include:

  • Problems with infectious diseases such as HIV/AIDS or hepatitis
  • Dental health complications
  • Damage to veins due to unsafe injecting practices
  • Problems managing various aspects of one’s life
  • Cancer, liver, kidney, or cardiovascular problems
  • Mental health issues such as depression or anxiety

The Importance of Maintaining Sobriety to Reduce Long-Term Effects of Substance Abuse

Although it can be difficult for many individuals to discontinue using drugs and alcohol, adolescents must make serious life changes to reduce the long-term effects of SUD. SUD can negatively interfere with many different aspects of a teen’s life and disrupt her future. Without making major sacrifices, a girl’s academic progress, social development, and legal record may be impacted.

Fortunately, parents have many options for providing help. Parents can encourage their daughter who is facing challenges with substance use to engage in the following activities:

  • Participate in sober activities such as biking, walking trails, hosting a game night, scrapbooking, or checking out a new local restaurant
  • Accompany them on a family trip
  • Sign up for theater
  • Join a school sports league
  • Attend a summer camp
  • Join an all-girls yoga class

Moving Forward With Clearview Girls Academy to Address the Long-Term Effects of Substance Abuse

Learning to recognize the warning signs of substance abuse and encouraging a loved one to partake in sober activities can help her maintain long-term sobriety. Offering emotional support is helpful; however, many teens need professional guidance to effectively move forward from substance abuse and co-occurring conditions. Choosing treatment with Clearview Girls Academy can give adolescent girls the direction needed to overcome addiction. Many of Clearview’s emotion-based therapies can teach her helpful strategies to respond to intense cravings and stay on track toward recovery.

At Clearview Girls Academy, we prioritize the well-being of troubled girls through a comprehensive therapeutic approach. Our students receive an individualized treatment plan aligned with their medical, emotional, and psychological needs. Weekly individual therapy sessions are tailored to meet the unique needs of each girl, whether in a single extended sitting or through multiple shorter sessions spread across the week. Our experienced staff members, boasting a collective expertise of more than 60 years in adolescent therapy, take a meticulous approach. Families are encouraged to visit their daughters after an appropriate number of family therapy phone calls. Call us at Clearview Girls Academy at (888) 796-5484 to gain competent professional support and guidance.