How to write a nursing essay on Adolescence: Contemporary Issues and Resources

How to write a nursing essay on Adolescence: Contemporary Issues and Resources

One of the main problems facing adolescents today is substance use. Substance abuse affects their health and well-being in numerous ways.  Various external stressors are associated with substance use in teenagers. Healthcare practitioners need to assess adolescents for substance use properly.  Various support options and resources available in the community can support teenagers with substance use disorders.

Substance Abuse

Many adolescents use many substances, including cigarettes, alcohol, household chemicals, bhang, over the counter medications and other hard drugs. According to CDC (2020), about two-thirds of adolescents have tried alcohol by the twelfth grade.  Half of the students between 9th grade and 12th grade reported ever having used marijuana. Additionally, statistics show that in the US, a tenth of alcohol consumers are composed of people between 12 and 20 years.  These statistics show the high prevalence of substance use and misuse among teenagers.

Substance use results in numerous physical, social, psychological and mental consequences. These consequences include drug dependence, poor judgment, high-risk sexual activity, mental health disorders, impaired driving, and changes in school performance.  In some cases, drug and substance use have led to death and other serious impairments and disabilities.

External Stressors Associated With Substance Use

Various factors in adolescents’ environments contribute to the high rate of substance use and misuse. These factors may include various issues happening around the surrounding of the patients. Family issues contribute to high rates of substance use. The way a child is brought up can determine whether they abuse drugs. Teenagers brought up in families where one or more members abuse certain drugs are likely to abuse drugs. Peer pressure is also a stressor contributing to substance abuse. Many teenagers feel that they have to do what their peers are doing to maintain friendships. Bad peers can make adolescents start taking drugs. Stress is another factor contributing to substance abuse. Teens who are abused and suffer from stress are likely to start taking drugs.  Traumatic personal experience can also result in substance abuse.  Other stressors contributing to substance abuse include financial difficulties, declining academic performance, low self-esteem, and culture.

Assessment and Screening for Substance Abuse

Various approaches can be utilized to screen for substance use to identify whether they need help with treatment.  Assessment can be done through interviewing, history and physical examination (CSAT, 2020).  The interviewer can ask the adolescent various questions in a culturally sensitive way. First, the assessor can ask about the strength and resiliency factors such as self-esteem, family, coping skills, and the motivation for treatment.  Secondly, the assessor can ask about any history of substance abuse while noting the frequency, age of initiation, length pattern, and mode of ingestion. Thirdly, the assessor screening teenagers can also ask for medical health history and conduct a physical examination to obtain objective information.  The other questions that can be asked include leisure activities, involvement with social agency programs, juvenile justice involvement and peer relationships.

Before interviewing the adolescent, the healthcare provider needs to inform them that the information they share is confidential and will not be revealed to anybody, including their parents, without their consent. This allows the adolescent to open up and provide information necessary in planning for the care. Information that the client does not want to be shared with their parents and guardians should not be revealed to improve the client care provider relationship.

Support Options

Various options and resources are available to support adolescents with substance use disorders.  The treatment options include therapies, pharmacotherapy, and rehabilitation programs (University of Michigan Health, 2020). Rehabilitation centres help manage the addiction and ensure detox of the illicit substances from the adolescent’s system. Various therapies can also be used to prevent or manage substance use in adolescents. These therapies include cognitive behavioural therapy, family therapy, contingency management, motivational interviewing, and recreational therapy. Finally, medications can also be used in the management of substance use in adolescents.  Medications help address underlying psychiatric disorders, reduce craving and restore normal health. Medications commonly prescribed include opioids, stimulants, and mood stabilizers.



Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) (2020). Teen substance use & risks.

Centre for Substance Abuse Treatment (CSAT) (2020) Screening and assessing adolescents for substance use disorders.

University of Michigan Health (2020, June 29). Teen Alcohol and Drug use.


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