How Addiction Affects Growing Teenagers


Emotional Development and Behavioral Problems

We’re all aware of the cliches about teenagers and mood swings, but it’s important to remember the truth behind it – especially when it comes to looking for teen help. In our teenage years, our bodies go through a lot of changes, and the hormonal and physical shifts can cause immense issues that are hard to deal with. Turbulent emotions, problems with self-confidence and self-image, and social and relationship challenges can all add up and are all important factors in how many teens fall into unhealthy habits.

Many of these habits can have an intensely negative effect on their emotional development, leading to behavioral problems. A lack of self-discipline and self-control will only get worse once your teen is indulging in drug and alcohol abuse, and these are behavioral habits that can last the rest of their life. Due to the illicit nature of drug abuse or underage drinking, many teenage abusers will find themselves engaging in more criminal behavior, either to support their habit or just by the nature of who they end up hanging around with because of it.

Learning and Developmental Issues

It’s important to remember that many substances, not to mention alcohol, cause physical brain damage. Both short and long-term memory are vulnerable when it comes to substance abuse, and at a young age, this can cause a variety of problems. These after-effects will obviously have a detrimental effect on school work and education, which can certainly damage future prospects when it comes to finding employment.

But, short and long-term memory problems don’t just impact education. They can also greatly decrease your quality of life. Some of the more devastating developmental issues aren’t just an occasional lapse causing you to forget why you went from one room to another, but are more akin to the terrifying blank spaces and aphasias associated with suffering a stroke or from dementia.

Think back to some of the more difficult times you had as a teenager, and imagine trying to cope while suffering these kinds of symptoms, and the importance of teen help becomes much more immediate.

Future Mental and Physical Health

It almost goes without saying that drug or alcohol abuse from a young age has lasting physical effects, but it’s important to look at it in the context of the behavioral and developmental issues we’ve already mentioned to give you the full picture. Not only will a teenager who has a drug or alcohol habit have to deal with mood swings, memory lapses, and problems retaining information, but there’s also far more potential for:

Liver disease

Heart disease

Kidney problems

Brain damage

Sexually transmitted diseases

Diseases from sharing needles and other paraphernalia


As well mental health issues like:


Bipolar Disorder



And more


Stepping back and looking at the consequences combined gives a good idea of just how damaging and lasting teenage addiction can be.


If you or a loved one is struggling with drug and/or alcohol Addiction and in need of Treatment Services, please contact Adult and Teen Challenge Wisconsin today at 414-748-HELP(4357) or email  We offer many services including the following but not limited to;

  • Free alcohol & drug rehabilitation as well as other drug abuse (AODA) treatment programs
  • Heroin and Opiate help 
  • Residential Treatment Centers for both men and women
  • Sober living houses


Teen Challenge Wisconsin Centers and locations:

Men’s Center of Hope accepts Men (18+), including those that are on parole, on probation.

P.O. Box 250771

Milwaukee, Wisconsin 53225

(414) 466-4415 office (414) 466-0793 fax


The Robbie Dawson Home accepts Women (18+), including those that are on parole, on probation, on psychotropic meds.

Note: Program length is 12-16 months.

P.O Box 250771

Milwaukee, Wisconsin 53208

(414) 342-0909 office (414) 375-1875 fax