DRUG AND ALCOHOL USE AMONG YOUTH
"Alcohol and drugs also affect the parts of the brain that deal with judgment, decision making, problem-solving, emotions, learning, and memory."
Using alcohol or drugs can affect young people’s general health, physical growth, and emotional and social development.
It can also change how well they make decisions, how well they think, and how quickly they can react.
And using alcohol or drugs can make it hard for young people to control their actions.
For some young people, alcohol or drug use may turn into a substance use problem.
According to Nida for teens: the science behind drug abuse, drugs are chemicals or substances that change the way our bodies work.
Alcoholism most often refers to alcohol use disorder a problematic pattern of drinking that leads to impairment or distress which can be characterized as mild, moderate, or severe based on the number of symptoms a patient has, such as failing to fulfill obligations or developing a tolerance.
Dr. Paul Seale, Mercer University School of Medicine, USA, researched drug use in South Africa and found that 13.3% of the South African population had used drugs during their lifetime, resulting in substance abuse in 3.9% of people and dependence in 0.6% of the population.
There were high levels of inhalant use among youth, he said. Cannabis (dagga) was the drug of choice among those undergoing substance abuse treatment, and methamphetamine (tik) abuse was common in the Western Cape and Eastern Cape.
Complex behaviors, such as the decision to begin drinking or to continue using alcohol, are the result of a dynamic interplay between genes and the environment.
Alcohol and drugs also affect the parts of the brain that deal with judgment, decision making, problem-solving, emotions, learning, and memory.
They change how the cells in the brain send and process information.
These changes in the brain make it harder for people to think and make good choices.
They may be less able to control their actions.
The leading cause of death for young people is car crashes related to alcohol.
Drinking also can lead young people to have unprotected intercourse.
This raises the chance of unwanted pregnancy and infection with sexually transmitted infections and diseases, such as herpes, chlamydia, and HIV.
Drug and alcohol addiction is a complex disease that results from a number of factors such as genetic predisposition, history of violence at home, and stress.
Researchers have been able to identify the factors that lead to drug abuse.
Understanding the root cause of drug addiction is one of the best ways to improve treatment options and outcomes of drug addiction in the future.
Efforts to prevent substance use should begin early in life with education, encouragement of healthy behaviors, and good family bonds.
Positive self-esteem, a supportive family, and positive role models help children gain confidence to make good choices.