Created on August 5, 2017. Last updated on September 9th, 2020 at 10:40 pm
Drug and alcohol use during adolescence is not uncommon and will usually begin during teen-years. But it could become a problem if a teen continues using drugs or alcohol even after facing a lot of issues as a result of using these substances.
Most adolescents will stop using drugs or alcohol before it becomes a bigger problem. Because of this, the number of adolescents who meet criteria for substance use disorder is relatively low (about 5 out of 100).
Substance use disorder includes both substance abuse and dependence, which are issues in using alcohol or drugs. Signs of a substance use disorder include interference with school or a job and/or hurting family relationships and friendships. A child struggling with substance use disorder may show a sudden drop in grades, get in fights with family or friends, and/or experience injury, illness, or run-ins with the police related to substance use.
A young person with substance use disorder may also show signs of unhealthy or dangerous behaviors, including:
The chart below includes more information on the various forms of evidence-based therapies for substance use disorder. These therapies have been tested and ranked by researchers and clinical child and adolescent psychologists based on the evidence that shows how effective they have been in the treatment of substance use disorder.
Tested and Does Not Work
To find out more about how these treatment levels are defined, click here.
Therapies and Terms Defined:
Hogue, A., Henderson, C.E., Becker, S.J., & Knight, D.K. (2018). Evidence base on outpatient behavioral treatments for adolescent substance use, 2014–2017: Outcomes, treatment delivery, and promising horizons. Journal of Clinical Child and Adolescent Psychology, 47(4), 499-526. https://doi.org/10.1080/15374416.2018.1466307