Alert: Stress is leading teens in the US to have substance use disorder. Know more! 

A CDC study revealed that teens in the United States are consuming more substances to deal with stress and anxiety; if given better mental health consultation, they would be less likely to suffer from substance use disorder.
A CDC study revealed that teens in the United States are consuming more substances to deal with stress and anxiety. Credit | iStockphoto

United States: According to a new study by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), teens in the United States are directly positively impacted by lesser substance use if they are provided support in the improvement of their mental health. 

Know more about the latest study by the CDC 

Those teens who had been under observation for treatment of substance use disorder were taken into account. They were asked to identify their individual motivations for using drugs and alcohol. 

For the study’s purpose, more than 9,500 inputs were gathered from 2014 to 2022 from the teens, as reported by CNN Health. 

Reasons cited by teens for substance overuse 

Most commonly, teens agree that taking drugs and alcohol was to feel calm, relaxed, or mellow, as told by around three-quarters of them. 

Visual Reprsentation – Teen Using Drugs Credit | Getty Images

Other major reasons cited were associated with methods to tolerate stress, as around 44 percent of them mentioned it in order to forget about bad memories or not to worry about them. Moreover, 40 percent told the reason for coping with depression or anxiety. 

Substance use was associated with leisure or experimentation for half of the teens, whereas more than two in five said the reason was to have a better or fall asleep. 

Status of substance use in adolescents in the United States 

CDC states that adolescence is often associated with the beginning of substance use by teens, where children put themselves at risk for deadly overdose and substance use disorders in adulthood

As per the reports, it has a negative effect on brain development in teens. In the US, mental health crisis among children has been a major problem recently, as reported CNN health reports. 

In 2021, the leaders in youth health declared a state of national emergency in the mental health of children and adolescents. A US Surgeon General, Dr. Vivek Murthy, called for taking youth mental health as a critical priority. 

As per a 2021 advisory by Murthy, “The challenges today’s generation of young people face are unprecedented and uniquely hard to navigate. And the effect these challenges have had on their mental health is devastating,” and the Covid pandemic “exacerbated the unprecedented stresses young people already faced.” 

A May report by the CDC showed that there is a slight improvement in the mental health status of children and adolescents- as a dip in emergency visits related to mental-related problems was noticed. 

However, as per the experts, there is still a “substantial public health problem,” especially among teen girls. 

According to the latest KFF analysis, there are 1 in 5 adolescents who have shown symptoms of depression/ anxiety and are not getting the required treatment for their prevailing situation, reported CNN Health. 

Moreover, the 2021 and 2022 KFF analysis of federal surveys regarding direct responses from adolescents showed- that about 21 percent of adolescents in the survey experienced anxiety in the past two weeks, whereas 17 percent of them reported feeling symptoms of depression. 

One few percent of teens getting themselves treated- CDC study 

According to the latest CDC study, just 20 percent of adolescents reported they are going through therapy for mental health. At the same time, 14 percent of them are taking prescription medicines. 

The survey also revealed that most of the teens are likely to take substances with friends. However, half of them reported using drugs and alcohol alone. 

As per the report, it is a concerning trend, especially in those using prescription drugs, as the “proliferation of counterfeit pills” that contain highly-potent fentanyl posed a “significant risk for fatal overdose,” as CNN Health reported. 

CDC report stated, “Educating adolescents on harm reduction practices, including the risks of using drugs alone and ensuring they are able to recognize and respond to overdose (e.g., administering naloxone), could prevent fatal overdoses,” and added further, “reducing stress and promoting mental health among adolescents might lessen motivations for substance use.”