Addiction in teenage girls is a growing problem in the United States. Although most parents are familiar with drug and alcohol abuse, they should consider and be aware of many other addiction risks today. Teenagers, both boys and girls, have an elevated risk for becoming addicted, but several aspects of a young woman’s emotional and mental development place them at even greater risk. Fortunately, there are many effective resources available for getting help.
Types of Addiction in Girls and Young Women
Chemical and substance addictions, including alcohol, tobacco and illegal or prescription drugs, have been a concern for decades. Today, however, mental health professionals report a variety of social addictions taking hold among young women. These can include addiction to theInternet, social networking, shopping and even video games. Texting addiction, which may seem relatively harmless on the surface, can disrupt sleep patterns and interfere with school and social activities on a profound level. Many teen girls become addicted to sex as well, a problem that is growing in proportion to relaxing societal standards.
Why Adolescent and Teen Girls are at Risk
The human brain does not fully finish its development until the late teens or early 20s for girls (25 for boys). Decision making, insight and impulse control are some of the last capacities to develop. As a result, teens are prone to making bad choices that can easily lead to the development of addictive behaviors. For girls, the excessive social pressures they face exacerbate this risk significantly. The effects of addiction are also more extreme on the adolescent brain and more likely to have lasting consequences, especially if substance abuse is involved. Left unchecked, addiction in young women can develop into a life-long pattern.
Getting Help for Your Addicted Teen
Effective treatment for addicted teenage or adolescent girls requires a different approach than for other populations. The treatment modalities that are proven effective in adults often have little or no benefit for young women and can, in fact, worsen the situation. Girls respond best to controlled, gender-specific treatment programs geared toward their age group. Treatment for young women is most productive when it includes counseling, developing life skills and coping mechanisms, and a utilizing an experiential, immersive approach.
Havenwood Academy specializes in addressing the challenges faced by adolescent and teen girls. Treatment programs are customized for each client and incorporate proven therapeutic techniques. Addiction in teenage girls requires an aggressive approach that emphasizes healing, learning new coping skills and future well-being — the foundations of the Havenwood Academy approach.