Addiction in Adolescence

Explain in detail (using your readings/presentations from this module/week to support what you say) the relationship between abuse and addiction in adolescence. How does abuse or addiction affect the developing brain of an adolescent? How does a healthy spiritual development effect the likelihood of use/abuse/addiction in the adolescent years? Discuss local news coverage of alcohol or drug-related stories to adolescent use in your area. Give details on the prevalence of addiction based on your readings and the news stories.

Make sure to support everything you report with at least 2–3 current APA citations and then a reference page at the end. Review the Essay Grading Rubric before submitting. Your paper must be at least 600 words.



This paper will illustrate the difference between abuse and addiction in adolescence.  The many ways that drugs can affect the developing brain of an adolescent.  How a healthy spirit development can affect the likelihood of use/abuse and addiction of drugs in the adolescent years.  Local news coverage of alcohol or drug related stories.    The prevalence of teens using and abusing alcohol or drugs in the Northeast area will be discussed.













As a little girl, Samantha always wanted to participate in family activities.  She was always the first child of three children to volunteer for their family to go out.  Wednesday evenings was family night.  Friday was movie night, and Sundays was church, until she turned 10.  From the age of 5 through 13 Samantha always forced her parents to do something.  As a freshman in high school, there was a significant change in her behavior.  She stayed in her room; she was always sleeping and constantly wanted to go out with her friends.  When her parents approached her, she became defensive, demanding her privacy, and wanted to be left alone.   It was obvious that Samantha was hanging out with the wrong crowd.  Samantha became more involved in social activities with friends, and her parents could not reach through to her. As suspected, Samantha was using illicit substances. Samantha’s drug use became uncontrollable; out of desperation to improve her behavior; her parents enrolled her in catholic school. Catholic schooling did not help, and she was expelled from catholic school for not attending school. Samantha had to return to public school in the 12th grade.  Samantha graduated from high school, and she was accepted to Bloomsburg University.  One of the requirements for admission to the university is for her to participate in individual counseling. Through individual counseling, it was reported that Samantha was the victim of sexual abuse.  For 6 years, she was being raped by her cousin, (whom the parents allowed to sleepover).  Feeling helpless and hopeless, Samantha turned to drugs, because she knew if she told her mother about the sexual abuse, it would cause discord with extended family members.  Samantha’s mother pursued criminal charges against her nephew; however, she was told by law enforcement that Samantha (the victim) is the only person who can press charges.  Samantha refused, feeling that she was partially responsible for allowing the rape to occur for such a long period of time, and not telling anyone.  From August through September, Samantha felt pressured by her parents.  Finally, on October 19th, Samantha left a note, apologizing to family members for not wanting to pursue criminal charges.  She overdosed on heroine, and was pronounced dead by the coroner.

According to the National Institute on Drug and Alcohol (2014), Addiction is defined as a chronic, relapsing brain disease that is characterized by compulsive drug seeking and use, despite harmful consequences.  Since drugs have the capacity to change the brain, and its structure, addiction is considered to be a disease.  Addiction is similar to other common diseases such heart disease.  According to the Merriam-Webster’s dictionary (2014) the word abuse is defined as the improper use of something.  The relationship between abuse and addiction in adolescence is the fact that both are related to family conflicts (Martha A. Morrison, 2010).  Adolescence begin to abuse illicit substances for different reasons, to feel good (to increase intense feelings of pleasure), to feel better (to alleviate stress, anxiety, depression, etc.), to do better (some teenagers abuse drugs to improve their cognitive abilities, or to enhance their physical performance in sports), curiosity and because other friends are doing it (peer pressure), (National Institute on Drug and Alcohol, July, 2014).  In the case of Samantha, she began using drugs as a means to alleviate multiple stressors pertaining to the sexual abuse that she endured.  She had guilt, and was clinically depressed.  Through the depression that Samantha was going through, she began to self-medicate.  She also doubted herself, believing that she must have enticed him in some sort of way.

According to Weinberger (2010), substance abuse affects the brain in the following methods; it alters the functions of neurotransmitters (chemical messengers of the brain that allows nerves cells to communicate).  Substance abuse alters perception, which affects teenagers’ perceptual skills.  Lastly, drugs and alcohol will cause an addiction in the brain.  The last effect that drugs will cause in the brain is habit forming.  The more a teenager uses the drug, the more desires that will have to keep using, thereby causing habit forming behaviors.

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