The developmental phase of adolescence is often a period of considerable stress and .
The attraction of "mind- altering- substances are frequently tempting as an .
escape from the painful and discordant processes of adolescence. Yet this attraction is .
deceptive ; the habitual flight into drug induced euphoria inevitably culminates .
in the failure to acquire the developmental tasks necessary for future psychological.
health. Furthermore, the chronic and compulsive use of powerful mood altering .
substances has a significant dulling effect upon cortical tone, thus impairing the .
attainment of optimal cognitive function and impeding the path of developmental .
growth(Baumrind and Moselle 1985). Developmental fixation and regression are among .
the serious risks of chronic substance abuse in contemporary adolescence. The adverse .
developmental consequences of substance abuse in adolescence include persistent .
identity diffusion, lack of clarity about goals, creation of a false of autonomy, impaired .
capacity or deferred gratification and a fixation of the negative identity characteristics of .
As the extent and duration of substance abuse and dependence increases, the afflicted .
adolescent will experience greater alienation and estrangement from the mainstream of .
cultural life. Intensified degrees of loneliness and isolation, along with pronounced .
feelings of hopelessness and helplessness, perpetuate the need for further drug-induced .
refuge and escape. As the process intensifies and the individual fails to respond to efforts .
aimed at internal control, self-esteem progressively deteriorates. The concurrent and .
cumulative effects of impaired developmental maturation, deteriorating psychosocial .
functioning, and declining self-esteem will place the adolescent at a greater risk for .
dangerous and potentially lethal behavior, including explicit suicidal acts. Early .
identification and treatment of these depressed adolescents who are at risk for the .