Few would deny the struggles and anxiety posed by adolescence and the prospect of transitioning from childhood into adulthood. It’s a time fraught with all sorts of confusing feelings, growth spurts, voice changes, and romantic interests. On top of all that you’re figuring out who you are as a person and what kind of man you’ll be. That’s why the teen years are so pivotal and why it’s doubly important to be aware of the risks of substance abuse.
Teenagers have a longstanding reputation for rebellion and parties. Sex, drugs, and rock n roll characterize a time in our lives when our hormones kick into high gear and drive us to carry out all of nature’s intentions. The American Amish have a tradition in which they recognize this period of life as rumspringa, a time of “running around.” While normally strict and traditional, the Amish communities allow their teens a chance to cut loose a bit, relax from the rules of the church, and explore the outside world. When they’ve sown some wild oats and are ready for a real adult life within the community, they are guided to take the oaths and ceremonies of adulthood. Many indigenous cultures have similar coming of age rituals to mark this important time in life.
However, in the modern industrialized world, we have very few of these formal, community-recognized rites of passage, especially for young men. For this reason, teenage boys find all sorts of trouble to get into. We have an instinct to seek danger and risk, and therefore end up experimenting with substance use and alcohol. In days past this would be considered normal– and to some extent it is– but in today’s world we aren’t just concerned about the boys sneaking off with a sixer and pack of Marlboros. The drugs of today, those that are often available on the street to teens from all walks of life, are cooked up in someone’s house and offer untold risk of sickness, overdose, addiction, and death.
The high stakes of today’s drugs leave little room for childish experimentation and it’s all the more important for the adult community to keep a close watch on the risky curiosity of our youth. Adolescence is a time where the brain and body are easily stunted or influenced. The brain is doing the majority of its frontal development and laying the groundwork for rational thought. Drugs interrupt this important development stage and can cause lasting problems throughout life.
If you know a young adult who is at risk of substance abuse or dealing with active addiction, it’s absolutely essential that you get them first class addiction treatment as soon as possible. There is a world of possibilities waiting in his future and we want to save him from addiction as early as possible. The professionals at LEAD Treatment Center can offer insight and advice when you call 800.380.0012.