Impact of Pediatric Substance Misuse
Adolescent substance use has a great impact on your patient’s health and well-being. Alcohol use impairs adolescent growth and development and can be associated with risk taking behaviors, such as unprotected sex, intoxicated driving and other behaviors.
- Alcohol use has been linked to disruption of normal brain development impacting:
- Critical Thinking
- Impulse Control
- Emotional Regulation
- Alcohol use impacts an adolescent’s decision-making abilities, which are not fully developed.
- The earlier the onset age of drinking, the greater the risk for lifetime alcohol abuse or dependence (DeWit, Adlaf, Offord, & Ogborne, 2000).
- Alcohol interferes with many physiological processes that can destabilize mood such as depression, aggression, violence, and suicide.
Substance Misuse and Psychiatric Comorbidity
Determining the number of days your patient has consumed alcohol in the past year will assist in assessing the patient’s risk level.
When talking to youth about alcohol, it is important as primary care providers, to dispel any myths they have about alcohol consumption. Below are some examples you may hear from youth. Click on the picture to learn the facts, debunk the myths and educate youth about the impact alcohol has on the body and brain. (Adapted from collegedrinking.gov)
Kaminer Y, Connor DF, Curry JF. Comorbid Adolescent Substance Use and Major Depressive Disorders: A Review. Psychiatry (Edgmont). 2007;4(12):32-43.
DeWit, David J. Ph.D.; Adlaf, Edward M. Ph.D.; Offord, David R. M.D.; Ogborne, Alan C. Ph.D. Age at First Alcohol Use: A Risk Factor for the Development of Alcohol Disorders. American Journal of Psychiatry. 157(5):745-750, May 2000.