A study by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration revealed some statistics about Alabama teens and drug and alcohol use. More than 10 percent (40,000) of Alabama adolescents used a drug in the previous month. Of those, 23,000 had used marijuana and 24,000 had used other drugs. In terms of prescription drug use, 36,000 adolescents had used painkillers in the past year. About 62,000 Alabama adolescents had used alcohol in the previous month, with nearly 37,000 engaging in binge drinking. The percentage of adolescent males compared to females who drink alcohol in Alabama is just about even, at 16.2 percent and 16.3 percent, respectively.
Addiction and Its Effect on the Brain
Many people may think that those who become addicted to drugs and alcohol are bad people. They assume they just have a character flaw that allows them to become dependent on substances. This is not true. Although the choice to use drugs is a decision that the teen could have controlled initially, once addiction takes over a person, it becomes a brain disorder. What happens is that drugs cause intense pleasure in the brain. In fact, the feelings are so intense that they cannot occur naturally. The brain remembers this and activates the reward circuitry. This teaches us to do the same thing again and again to receive the same rewards. This is how addiction starts.
As you continue to use the drug, your brain function changes. The neurotransmitters sense enough dopamine, so your brain stops producing so much. Therefore, the person begins to stop functioning without drugs. The brain stops producing dopamine, so the person feels no pleasure or happiness without drugs. Drugs are needed just to feel normal and a very high amount of the drug is needed to get a high. These changes in the brain cause someone to use drugs regularly and even resort to illegal activities in order to get drugs.
Treatment is needed in order to remove the substances from the person’s body and reprogram the brain to not crave the drug anymore. Treatment is effective for many people, whether it is done voluntarily or involuntarily. If there is high pressure to complete treatment because of something important that is at stake – such as a relationship, school, clean criminal record or future goals – then the patient is likely to achieve their goal, whether they entered treatment because of their own free will or because their family or a judge ordered them to do so.
It is important to remember that drug addiction is a chronic condition, for the most part. Although some people can quit cold turkey or just after one stint in a treatment facility, most have relapses and need multiple attempts in order to quit successfully. Even if they do not relapse, they may need to attend regular 12-step meetings or counseling sessions in order to remain clean and sober for the long term.
Researching Treatment Facilities for Alabama Teens
Alabama has more than 140 treatment facilities to help those suffering from drug or alcohol addiction. The types of treatment offered are varied and include detoxification, dual diagnosis services and counseling. Some are women-only and some are especially for teens. There are also inpatient and outpatient facilities you and your teen can choose from. You should opt for a program that is designed to treat teens specifically, rather than one that is simply designed to treat addiction in people of all ages.
Don’t delay treatment for your teen’s substance abuse addiction any longer. Let us help you find the resources you need to make an informed decision. We understand that while the Internet is a useful tool, it has so much information, making it hard to pick the right recovery option for your teen. Give us a call today and we can set you and your teen down the right path to recovery.
This help line is for anyone who is looking for treatment for a loved one or themselves. Advisors are standing by 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to provide private and convenient solutions to your questions.
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