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Addiction in Adolescences: Factors and Treatments Term Paper

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Updated: May 23rd, 2021

The process of adolescents’ personal development is characterized by a psychological tendency to be independent, make their own decisions, and free choices. However, the character of an adolescent is not formed yet and tends to be easily exposed to harmful influences leading to addictions of different types, including drug, tobacco, alcohol, or Internet addictions. The choice of the topic is dictated by the fact that adolescent addiction remains one of the most serious problems within this age group.

The disorder leads to adverse outcomes, such as insufficient school performance or failure, deviant criminal behavior, health issues leading to more severe problems in adulthood. The point is relevant in the modern world reality due to the variety of freedoms and easy access to information and products young people can get today. The scope of scientific literature on the topic is available now. However, most of the researches concentrates on one particular type of addiction without a general overview of the disorder as a whole. It is crucial to study dependence in adolescences in a variety of its forms to identify the decisive tools and methods of influence to provide treatment interventions.

Addiction as a Disorder

Adolescence is a period in human life that is marked by the need to behave independently. However, such willingness might lead to socially harmful activities and predetermine addictions. Addiction is a kind of disorder that involves an individual’s constant need to use some substance (drugs, alcohol, tobacco, and others), resulting in a set of “behavioral responses characterized by problematic self-control” (Adiele & Olatokun, 2014, p. 100).

This disorder becomes the most obvious in adolescence but has relations to the character of upbringing in childhood, psychological family atmosphere, and environmental factors that might have their effect on the earlier stages of development. According to recent studies, drug addiction, “cannabis and alcohol use …, along with tobacco, are the drugs most often used by adolescents” (Moshki, Hassanzade, & Taymoori, 2014; Kelly et al., 2015, p. 627). The abuse of these substances might lead to health issues, academic failure, and more psychological severe disorders in adult life.

Influential Factors Contributing to Addiction in Adolescences

Any disorder has its reasons to appear, which are based on some influential factors. It is relevant to indicate two main groups of aspects that predetermine addiction in adolescences: social and psychological ones. The social element includes external and internal factors. The external determinants of dependence might be the general availability of drugs, alcohol, or other substances and the unfortunate socioeconomic environment (Kelly et al., 2015).

For example, a teenager from an unprivileged neighborhood will be more exposed to drug abuse than a young person from a fortunate environment. The internal ones reflect the influence of family and friends (Kelly et al., 2015). For example, a young person spending time in a group of peers who use drugs is likely to end up using them too.

The group of psychological factors includes the individual personal qualities of a person, such as vulnerability to adverse external influences and difficulty in overcoming problems. An adolescent living through a critical phase of personal development struggles to evaluate positive and negative impacts. According to Adiele & Olatokun (2014), Internet addiction is linked to other forms of addiction and is a manifestation of a person’s desire to escape from the negative realities of everyday life. From this point of view, the Internet becomes only a medium helping to access other forms of addiction. Alcohol and drug abuse are also addressed as ways of escape from problems that an adolescent is incapable of overcoming.

However, not all cases of substance abuse result in addiction. According to research, there exists a biological factor that contributes to an individual’s overall tendency to develop an addictive behavior (Cassidy et al., 2018). The parallels might be provided with drug addiction, including cannabis abuse, which is also marked by the genetic particularities of a young individual. Thus, the complexity of social, psychological, and biological factors influence a vulnerable personality of a teenager and increases their exposure to harmful, addictive behaviors leading to failure in adult life. To minimize the adverse effect of these aspects, it is essential to address the issue seriously, attracting the acute attention of parents and implementing treatment implementation.

Prevalence and Parental Involvement

A widely-spread problem of adolescent addictions is addressed by the majority of scholars as to the issue that leads to significant complications in adulthood. According to Cassidy et al. (2018), the majority of “adult cigarette smokers begin smoking in adolescence” and tend to suffer from smoking-related diseases or even die at a young age (p. 153). As for drug addiction, there has been a rise in drug abuse among school students within recent years that implies severe outcomes for the future of these people (Moshki et al., 2014). Also, Internet dependence is regarded as one of the prevailing issues linked to other addictions of young people.

The importance of parental involvement in the problem of addiction in adolescences flows out of the internal social factors that include family. Parents should be acutely attentive to their children’s behavior once they reach adolescence. Any deviation in their demeanor, a tendency to isolation, decreasing level of academic performance, or other indicators of the unstable condition should be analyzed and discussed (Kelly et al., 2015). It is important to raise awareness among parents about the complications in teenage upbringing to help them contribute to the future in earlier stages of childhood. Setting a positive example, surrounding a child with proper influences, and conducting some preventive procedures might decrease an individual’s exposure to addiction in adolescence.

Possible Treatment and Ideal Intervention

Operating with scientific data on the issue, it is vital to incorporate it into a series of preventive and treatment interventions. Addiction is a disorder that should be addressed for its reasons and harmful outcomes. The most effective way to eliminate the problem is to remove the cause of its appearance. Drug addiction is one of the most severe issues capable of ruining adolescents’ lives (Moshki et al., 2014).

Similar to other types of addiction, it originates from the inability to solve problems. Such life skills are necessary to be taught to young individuals so they would be able to withstand harmful influences independently (Moshki et al., 2014). Thus, to achieve an ideal result, it is essential to implement government programs concentrating on the needs of teenagers as the most addiction-vulnerable age group. It is critical to improving the social and economic determinants of the environment in which children grow up. A variety of discussions, preventive procedures, and health promotion interventions introduced at both national and local levels would decrease the addiction rates among young people and contribute to the overall well-being of the nation.


To summarize the discussion, addiction in adolescences is an acute problem that has been addressed by many types of research. It remains relevant in the modern world due to the variety of social and economic factors influencing the availability of addictive substances and the overall acceleration of individuals’ development. It was found out that the majority of adulthood failures, including unemployment, inability to get an education, inability to establish strong social relationships, might be linked to addictive behavior in adolescence. Therefore, it is essential to find ways of resolution of the problem at both national and local levels to eliminate adverse social-economic and psychological factors of addiction development.


Adiele, I., & Olatokun, W. (2014). . Computers in Human Behavior, 31, 100-110. Web.

Cassidy, R. N., Colby, S. M., Tidey, J. W., Jackson, K. M., Cioe, P. A., Krishnan-Sarin, S., & Hatsukamic, D. (2018). Adolescent smokers’ response to reducing the nicotine content of cigarettes: Acute effects on withdrawal symptoms and subjective evaluations. Drug and Alcohol Dependence, 188, 153-160. Web.

Kelly, A. B., Evans-Whipp, T. J., Smith, R., Chan, G. C. K., Toumbourou, J. W., Patton, G. C., & Catalano, R. F. (2015). A longitudinal study of the association of adolescent polydrug use, alcohol use, and high school non-completion. Addiction, 110(4), 627-635. Web.

Moshki, M., Hassanzade, T., & Taymoori, P. (2014). Effect of life skills training on drug abuse preventive behaviors among university students. International Journal of Preventive Medicine, 5(5), 577-583.

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