Every day, we face risks that can affect our lives in different ways. Some risks are larger than others, and some can have long-term consequences.
Substance abuse and addiction are serious risks for teenagers and boys in particular. There are a number of risk factors that can contribute to these problems.
Understanding these risk factors is an important step in prevention.
Risk factors for teen boys with substance abuse or addiction
There are a number of risk factors that can contribute to substance abuse or addiction in teen boys. Some of these risk factors include:
Substance use in the family history
Substance abuse and addiction can run in families. If a teen boy has a family history of substance use, they are at a higher risk of developing their own addiction.
According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, family history is one of addiction’s biggest risk factors.
Parents who misuse drugs or alcohol can put their children at risk of developing an addiction. This is because children who grow up in homes where substance abuse is present are more likely to be exposed to drugs and alcohol at an early age.
Parents’ positive attitude toward substances
Many parents mistakenly believe that having a drink or two every now and then won’t harm their children. And while it’s true that alcohol can be consumed responsibly, the fact is that when parents drink around their children, they are sending a clear message that it’s okay to abuse alcohol.
This sends the dangerous message that alcohol is safe and acceptable, which can lead to problems down the road.
Parents that don’t watch their kids
One of the biggest risk factors for teen substance abuse is poor parental monitoring.
When parents don’t keep an eye on their children, it opens the door for them to get involved in risky behaviors, including drug and alcohol abuse.
If parents are constantly checking in on their kids and know what they’re up to, it makes it much harder for them to get involved in these activities.
Parents should talk to their teens about addiction and substance abuse. Read the following article to help guide you: Make a Difference: Talk to Your Child About Alcohol – Parents.
Parents that use substances or alcohol
Substance abuse can have a big impact on a teenager’s life. When a teen is abusing drugs or alcohol, their parents may also be abusing drugs or alcohol.
This can create a dangerous and unhealthy environment for the child.
If parents are substance abusers, it’s important for them to get help. This will ensure that their children don’t grow up in an environment where substance abuse is present.
SAMHSA’s report indicates that about 1 in 8 children in the United States aged 17 or younger were residing in homes with at least one parent who had an SUD. These children are at an increased risk for engaging in substance use themselves.
Rejection from family on sexual orientation or gender identity
Family rejection of sexual orientation or gender identity can also be a risk factor for teen high-risk substance use. When a teen feels like they are not accepted by their family because of their sexual orientation or gender identity, they may be more likely to turn to drugs or alcohol as a way to cope.
This can be a dangerous cycle, as substance abuse can lead to further family rejection.
Friends with delinquent or substance-using peers
Association with delinquent or substance-using peers can also be a risk factor for teen high-risk substance use. When a teen hangs out with kids who are into drugs or alcohol, they are more likely to get involved in these activities themselves.
This can be a dangerous cycle, as substance abuse can lead to further association with delinquent or substance-using peers.
The following article shows a study conducted and how being friends with substance-using peers greatly affects if the individual uses also:
Trouble with connecting with others at school
Teens who struggle to connect with their peers at school may be more likely to turn to drugs or alcohol as a way to fit in. When kids feel like they don’t fit in, they can often be tempted to try out dangerous behaviors in order to feel accepted.
This can be a risky move, as drug and alcohol abuse can lead to further social isolation.
Performing poorly in school
Many teens who struggle in school turn to drugs and alcohol as a way to cope. In fact, poor academic achievement is one of the biggest risk factors for teen high-risk substance use.
There are many reasons why a teen may struggle in school. Some kids may have trouble with reading or math, while others may be struggling because of personal issues.
Whatever the reason, it’s important for parents to talk to their kids about how they’re feeling and offer support.
Childhood sexual abuse
Childhood sexual abuse is a very serious issue and can be a risk factor for teen high-risk substance use.
When a child is sexually abused, it can have a devastating impact on their life. They may struggle with feelings of guilt, shame, and anger.
Several epidemiological studies have shown that experiencing abuse as a child increases the risk for substance abuse later in life.
Mental health problems
Teens who are struggling with mental health issues may turn to drugs or alcohol as a way to cope.
It’s important for parents to be aware of the signs of mental health problems and to get their children to help if they are struggling.
If you are a parent of a teen boy and you are concerned about his risk for substance abuse or addiction, it is important to talk to him about your concerns.
You should also make sure he is getting the help he needs from a mental health professional or therapist who specializes in treating teen boys.
Stonewater Recovery is a residential treatment facility that provides drug and alcohol abuse treatment for boys in Mississippi. Through a combination of proven treatment methods and holistic therapy, boys receive the best possible help.