Teens who experience depression, bipolar disorder and other mental illnesses are likely to fall prey to substance abuse and teenage drug addiction. This is called “comorbidity,” which develops when two or more mental illnesses develop. To cope, some teens turn to drug use, which only worsens their conditions. As the drug of choice overtakes other priorities, they find it much more difficult to resist impulses and find real solutions to their problems.
Mental Illness and Addiction Equals Comorbidity
As these teens realize they have something wrong with them, they may begin self-medicating with drugs in an attempt to feel more normal. As time goes on, they become dependent on their drugs, and it becomes an addiction. Teen drug rehab can help them address their co-occurring issues.
The Root Causes of Teenage Drug Addiction
Other factors, such as genetic components, may also make teens more likely to develop a substance addiction and a mental illness, according to the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence. That is, if a parent or close relative has either condition, the teen is more likely to develop one or both issues.
Environmental factors, such as abuse or exposure to high levels of stress, make it more likely that the teen is at a higher risk of developing an addiction and/or a mental illness, as reported by the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA). If drugs are readily available in the home environment, this likelihood shoots even higher.
Commonly Abused Drugs
Young adults are the most common abuser of prescription and over-the-counter medications, according to the NIDA. As of 2012, these classes of drugs were the most commonly misused by high school seniors. When teens were asked how they got the prescription medications, they said they had either bought them or had them given to them by a friend or relative.
Teens are also likely to misuse marijuana, take part in episodes of heavy drinking and smoke cigarettes, activities possibly detrimental to physical and mental health.
The Importance of Interventions
Because teens are ashamed to admit they may have a mental illness, it is often up to their parents and doctors to intervene when they see their child using drugs so they can get the help they need. In drug rehab facilities, teenagers and their families can recover from the damage of drug addictions. Addiction treatment specialists work to treat both the original disease and the negative coping mechanisms so common for teenagers.