Riding the Roller Coaster of Life

A regular part of life consists of ups and downs. Unfortunately, the down periods sometimes extend to a longer time span than usual. This mainly happens because of chemicals in the brain being out of balance. Experts say that depression affects 1 out of 8 teenagers. No matter what way the teen is affected by depression, it is important to seek help to restore the brain's chemical balance.

The warning signs of drug abuse or alcohol abuse may be easier to spot than you think. Teen drug abuse may be accompanied by teen depression and teenage suicide. This makes it a serious problem. However, some people do not realize the roll that drug abuse can play in teen suicide. It is important to understand that teen drug abuse can contribute to attempted suicide and to completed suicide.

Drug abuse is one of those things that can really affect the chemical balance in the brain, intensifying feelings of depression and sadness. Dependency on drugs, both legal and illegal, can lead to feelings of helplessness and hopelessness. The drug becomes increasingly necessary, both physically and mentally, and this can lead to unpleasant feelings associated with being out of control.

It is important to recognize the symptoms of teen drug abuse. Some of these indications include:

·  News friends (often of questionable character)

·  Increased secretiveness

·  Pulling back from family and friends

·  Paying less attention to appearance and hygiene

·  Dropping school grades

·  Lack of interest in extracurricular activities

Sometimes teen drug abuse is not the main cause of teen depression leading to teenage suicide. There are occasions that stresses and life events cause depression and contribute to teen drug abuse. Sometimes teens feel so depressed, and so overwhelmed with life, that they turn to drugs to help them feel better. This is known as self-medicating, and it can lead to teen drug abuse. This drug abuse can, in turn, lead to increasingly severe depression, which, if not treated, can result in teen suicide. Here are some factors that can trigger teen depression:

  • Stressful situations at home, work or school
  • Exposure to violence (mental, physical, sexual or emotional)
  • Loss of a loved one
  • Divorce of parents
  • Change in economic or social situation
  • Changing schools
  • Moving to another town

Alcohol is the drug most commonly used among teens. While most teens say they disapprove of heavy drinking, teen alcohol abuse still occurs. Alcohol is one of the risk factors associated with teen suicide. Despite assertions by teens to the contrary, 80 percent of high school seniors have used alcohol at some point. However, most teens underestimate the problems that drinking alcohol can pose, and many of them do not even realize that it can contribute to depressive symptoms that can eventually result in teen suicide.

While teen alcohol abuse is not terribly rampant, it can contribute to teen depression and suicide. Here are some of the risk factors that can trigger alcohol abuse: 

  • Mental and emotional problems; because emotional and mental disorders can be so stressful, many teenagers seek alcohol as a means of self-medication. When they drink alcohol, their problems seem to shrink. The initial euphoria that comes with the first stages of intoxication can be a welcome release from mental and emotional problems. 
  • Family history; teenagers who have a family history of alcohol abuse are at risk of teen alcohol abuse. This is because addictions are partially genetic, and also because a teenager living in a home where alcohol is abused is exposed to alcohol on a regular basis, and often has the means to easily obtain it. 
  • Family situation; stressful situation at home can lead to escapism through alcohol and, as a result, a developed dependency upon it. 
  • Violence; teenagers who experience sexual, physical, mental or emotional violence, or who witness it regularly, can be more prone to teen alcohol abuse. Alcohol becomes a way to deal with the problems and to forget reality for a time.

Many teenagers, especially those who are subject to teen depression, feel as though they only feel “normal” when taking alcohol. Additionally, the changes that the body experiences while on alcohol are of a limited duration. When the “buzz” wears off, teenagers might feel even more depressed than they did before. These feelings can lead to suicidal thoughts, and even teen suicide attempts. Teens who recognize they have a dependency can begin to feel helpless, as though they will never escape their alcohol abuse. These feelings of hopelessness and increased depression can also lead to teen suicide. Teen alcohol abuse is one of the risk factors of teen suicide, and it is important to recognize the problems that an alcohol addiction can cause.

It is important to get help for teen alcohol abuse before it develops into a problem that can lead to destructive behaviors, including problems with holding a job, schoolwork, drug addiction, prolonged depression, and even teen suicide. There are many alcohol treatment problems geared toward helping teens overcome the addiction. Therapy is often a good idea in order to help teens work through depression and suicidal thoughts and feelings. This is especially important, as withdrawal symptoms associated with teen alcohol abuse can be quite severe and discouraging. Support and care by family and friends is essential to the treatment process.

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