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Part 3 of facing your teen’s addiction
Substance abuse hinders emotional development in teens. This is due to the psychoactive effects of drugs on the emotional center (limbic system) in the brain. All drugs of abuse change how this part of the brain functions. Teens learn that using drugs and alcohol will quickly change their mood. When a teen is bored, smoking marijuana makes the time pass. When they feel depressed, alcohol or cocaine works wonders—for a while.
We become emotionally mature by experiencing all of our feelings and learning how to cope with them. It may take several years of sobriety for some teens to catch up emotionally. Helping your teen talk about his feelings and express them appropriately is not easy. It will require patience and persistence and, most of all, a willingness to listen.

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