Statistically speaking, it is likely that your teen has tried drugs or alcohol at least once. For most parents, this fact is concerning but not an out and out crisis. However, for some teens go beyond simple sampling, leading to addiction.
The teen years are among the most formative in a young person’s life. During these times, adolescents are attempting to navigate the world while coming of age, learning rights and wrongs while expanding their own worldviews. This process often comes with experimentation, including curiosity in illegal substances. While a few times trying alcohol or marijuana may not be a significant concern, serious use is extremely problematic.
If you suspect your child is involved in drugs, the time to act is now. Here’s what to do if you are concerned about drug abuse or addiction in your teenager.
Know the Facts
Parenting isn’t an easy endeavor, no matter how well-behaved your child may be. Despite the behaviors you have seen from your teen, it’s important to understand the facts surrounding drug abuse and addiction in young adults.
Half of all high school students will try illegal drugs at least once. Over 35% of teens have tried marijuana at least once in the last year, and nearly 4% use cocaine. Prescription drugs are also prevalent; over 6% of those 12 to 17 use opioids, and over 1,700 young adults died from overdoses in 2014. Roughly .5% of teens use heroin, although these numbers have been on the rise in recent years.
Look for Signs
If your child is involved in drugs, you may notice evidence long before receiving confirmation. While not all symptoms will apply to all substances, here are some general signs you may notice if your child is addicted to drugs:
- Excessive sweating
- Red eyes
- Slurred speech
- Flushed skin
- Aecretive calls or texts
Some or all symptoms may appear, or you may notice just one or two. Keep in mind that lying and sneaking around aren’t always indicative of drug use. Instead, these behaviors can stem from other secrets, like new friends or a romantic relationship.
Stay in Control
For many parents, catching their child doing drugs often leads to anger and rage. While a natural reaction when a child is involved in illegal behavior, an aggressive response may not yield the results you’re looking for.
Being yelled at or punished harshly cause teens to turn away from their families, leading to further drug use or an increase in rebellious behavior. Instead, try to stay calm. Sternness or anger are fine, but try to avoid any actions that may push your child further away. As a parent, you want to be a resource your child can trust; reacting with venom can only exacerbate the issues at hand.
Sit Down and Talk
Talking to your child can provide an outlet that may be desperately needed. Find a quiet, isolated area that is free of distractions and choose a time when tempers are calm. Let your teen know about your concerns without accusatory language, and express concern for the challenges in his life. Ask your teen about any problems he may be experiencing, like relationship challenges, fights with friends, or struggles in school.
If your child does admit to drug usage, try not to judge or lose control. Provide an empathetic ear and listen honestly to what your teen has to say. Provide support and stability and, when you are sure your teen has finished talking, share what you know about the dangers of addiction. Educate your teen on what addiction can do to his future, and make sure he understands the impact drug use can have on the exciting things in store, like college and long-term relationships.
Explore Your Options
How to handle drug use in teens will depend on the drugs in question, the severity of usage, and behavior patterns. Decide what boundaries to implement, like limited car use, cell phone monitoring, or an earlier curfew. If your teen has tried drugs once or twice with friends, therapy sessions with a substance abuse counselor may be helpful.
If use seems severe and frequent, however, your child may be addicted. If this is the case, limited interference will not be enough. A true rehab program is essential to help those facing addiction overcome dependencies.
Speak to a Professional
If you fear true addiction in your teen, a rehabilitation facility can be the best resource possible. Choosing rehab can be a serious step, but one that will give your teen the best chance at recovery. Whether you have made a decision about how to handle your teen’s situation or you are still considering your options, speaking to a professional is always suggested. Feel free to call one of Teen Treatment Center’s admissions counselors at any time for a free, confidential consultation. There are no obligations, and we are available 24/7 to provide guidance and support for you and your child.
No teen is immune from the strong influence of peer pressure. Even previously high achieving teens can get caught in a web of bad behavior when influenced by friends, leading to injury, self-harm, and addiction. Whether you have seen your child active in drug use or you simply have a suspicion, action is critical in this stage.
Luckily, it’s never too late to get help. Teen Treatment Center is available around the clock to help you secure help for your family. Call us now for a free consultation at (844)319-5239.