Substance Abuse

By Vanessa Rasmussen, © 2004, All rights reserved.

In today's world, substance abuse can simply be defined as a pattern of harmful use of any substance for mood-altering purposes. Millions of youth aged between 12 to 17 years are reported using inhalants at least once in their life. Inhalants of different forms like liquids, sprays and gases that people sniff or inhale to give them a high or to give them certain amount of pleasure are used.

Many children and adolescents use alcohol and other drugs. Some develop serious problems which require professional help to control. Such as inpatient treatment, outpatient treatment, twelve step programs, and dual diagnosis units for individuals with emotional and substance abuse problems.

Using alcohol and tobacco at a young age increases the risk of using other drugs later. Some teens will experiment and stop, or continue to use occasionally, without significant problems. Others will develop a dependency, moving on to more dangerous drugs and causing significant harm to themselves and possibly others.

Following are some of the common substances that are abused by today's children and adolescents:

Different substances lend themselves to different groups of symptoms. The most evident symptom in all cases is a change, sometimes a radical one, in behavior. There are a variety of substance abuse treatment programs. It is advisable that the parents and caretakers seek professional help from a child and adolescent psychiatrist before making any decision about the type of treatment for the child or teenager.

Copyright 2001, 2004. All rights reserved. Any reproduction of this article in whole or in part without written or verbal permission is strictly prohibited. For information about reprinting this article, contact the copyright owner: Vanessa Rasmussen, Ph.D, Starting a Day Care Center,