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Unraveling the dynamic interplay between family functioning and substance use among adolescents: An Indian perspective

Anuj Khandelwal, Sonal Khandelwal, Avinash Desousa.


Substance abuse is a common problem seen in adolescents all over the world. It has been noted that the early antecedents of substance abuse in adolescents include dysfunctional family environments and broken or disrupted families. The family systems theory is reviewed to elucidate the optimal and abnormal functioning of a family and the difference between normal and postdivorce and single parent families are considered. There is a theory built based on available literature regarding the process that causes a transition from broken families and single parent families to substance abuse in adolescence. Adolescence is a period of stress and along with hormonal and physical changes any other turmoil during the middle years of life shall serve to push the adolescent into either internalizing behavior leading to anxiety and depression or externalizing behavior manifesting as conduct problems and aggression which may soon progress to substance abuse and other forms of dangerous behavior. This trajectory for the development of substance abuse in adolescents must be considered when planning out the long-term treatment and management of such patients.

Key words: Adolescents; Substance Abuse; Postdivorce Families; Single Parent Families; Adolescent Substance Abuse; Family Functioning

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