It’s no secret that teenagers are exposed to and even experiment with drugs and alcohol. DoSomething.org reported that 60% of teens they surveyed reported that drugs were sold, used, and kept at their schools. Teenage drug abuse is on the rise which is why it is important to learn the statistics, signs, and resources to combat it.
Does My Child Have a Drug Problem?
If you are concerned that your child may be using drugs or alcohol, it is likely that your parental intuition is correct. Due to the developing adolescent brain, teens and young adults are at a higher risk of developing emotional and physical dependence than their adult counterpart. It is imperative that parents educate their children about the dangers associated with drug and alcohol abuse. It is crucial that if drug or alcohol abuse is suspected, they intervene as soon as possible. A teen or young adult that is abusing drugs or alcohol is at risk for serious emotional and physical consequences. There are physical, behavioral and psychological signs of alcohol or drug abuse. If your child is exhibiting these symptoms, they may be abusing drugs or alcohol.
Prescription Teenage Drug Abuse on the Rise
The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) has now recognized prescription drug abuse as a nationwide epidemic. The rate of teenage drug abuse has been increasing every year since the early 2000s. Education is the first place for a parent to start to help prevent this.
What are some of the signs that my teenager is suffering from drug abuse?
- Neglecting responsibilities, commitments, and obligations
- Problems with relationships and dishonesty
- Defiant behavior and dishonesty
- Increased need for privacy and isolation
- Participating in illegal activities and legal trouble
- Increased financial needs
- Changes in mood, personality, or mental state
- Strange eating habits and sleeping patterns
- Degradation of physical appearance and hygiene
- Physical indications
- Paraphernalia or other out of the ordinary items
Why do Teenagers Abuse Drugs?
Teenagers most often begin to use drugs because of a variety of different reasons. However, they most often continue to use because they become dependent on the substances whether it is physically or psychologically. The reasons that teenagers start to use drugs include a desire to fit in, personal insecurity, traumatic experiences, feelings of rejection, or the belief that the drugs are harmless.
Distraction as Long as Possible is Good for Youth
The longer teenagers can hold off drug abuse, the better chance they have of not developing an addiction. Many times this can be as simple as distracting them with as many family activities, sports, drama classes, etc., until the growing period is complete.
Have A Straightforward Conversation About Your Teenage Drug Abuse
Talk to your child about the information you already have about their drug use. Don’t be judgmental. State your case as to why it’s clear that your child has been using drugs, and be careful not to let your emotions take sway and cause you to raise your voice or embellish your story.
Following this, reassure your child that they are safe in having a conversation about it with you. Scaring away your child with judgment or punishment will only exacerbate the problem. Tell them you want to help them make better choices and ask what’s going on from their side.
Be A Parent, Not A Friend
Drugs are available to children at younger and younger ages each and every year. It is not unheard of to catch your 10 or 11-year-old starting to smoke marijuana. At this point, most parents have developed a pattern of express disapproval.
Silent disapproval can be the worst course of action in this situation. Not expressly making your intentions known to your child can give them an ‘out’ thinking that it’s ok. Peer motivation is a powerful combatant and you must be armed with the facts.
Drug Detox is Just the Beginning
When looking for help with your child or loved one, it may be suggested upon an assessment that they go to detox. Typically detox is needed for drugs such as Xanax, Heroin and Alcohol, depending on how long they have been used, the frequency of use as well as the quantity. But it is important to note that this is typically only the first step on the path to recovery from drug addiction.
Upon discharge from detox, typically a drug rehabilitation or treatment center for a period of 30-90 days is suggested, followed yet again by a drug aftercare program such as a sober living environment or a halfway house.
Drug Detox Does Not Fix Drug Addiction
Drug detox is the process by which toxins are removed from the body, but aftercare programs help establish a foundation in recovery to help prevent relapse. It is extremely important to grasp this prospect, as drug addiction requires a life-long recovery process. When recovering from any sort of substance abuse a healthy environment is key. The community formed in our program does not end the second our residents walk out the door. The group is always there for each other to provide support. Getting sober is not easy, especially trying to do it alone. A strong support system is vital to long-term recovery.
For more information about drug detox and recovery, call us at (888) 357-7577.