What should you do if your teen is abusing drugs or alcohol? That is a question I wish I had asked myself a lot sooner.
I'm the mom of a teen drug addict. I had my suspicions before I found out the drug abuse was going on. I didn't act on them right away. What I didn't realize was that I was actually enabling my son to continue abusing drugs. Fortunately, we were able to get him into drug treatment eventually. However, the process involved so much heartache.
If you are suspecting that your adolescent is abusing drugs or abusing alcohol, the time to act is now. Don't look the other way, and don't enable the behavior. Knowing what to do just might save his or her life.
It's possible that your teenager has been acting strangely lately. The idea of drug abuse or alcohol abuse crossed your mind. However, you didn't really think too much of it. Now that you're considering it more, you're not even sure what to look for.
The following are some of the signs of drug abuse or alcohol abuse in adolescents:
You may also notice these behavioral signs:
If you noticed any of the above, there is a good chance your child is abusing drugs or alcohol.
Teenagers don't have access to a lot of substances for the purpose of abusing them. However, there are certain ones that are fairly easy for them to obtain. The types of drugs that teenagers will usually abuse include the following:
They may also abuse any drug that might be easily found in your medicine cabinet. For example, if you have a prescription for an opiate pain reliever like Vicodin, your teen may abuse it.
Alcohol and marijuana are typically easy to come by at parties or even at friends' houses. They can walk into any drug store and purchase cough medicine or other over the counter drugs.
For teens who want to use drugs or alcohol, obtaining them usually isn't a big problem.
Drug abuse or alcohol abuse in teens is one thing. It's something entirely different once the abuse becomes an addiction. For teenagers, addiction is the logical result the longer the substance abuse continues. As a parent, it's important for you to be aware of the different signs of addiction in adolescents.
Signs of addiction among teenagers include:
Have you noticed any of these with your teenager? If you have, it's likely that the abuse has progressed into a drug or alcohol addiction.
As a parent, you certainly want your teen to be happy. You also want your adolescent to be safe. Sometimes, it can be hard to differentiate between the two. Many parents inadvertently enable their adolescents' addictive behavior. Most of the time, they don't mean to. It just happens.
Some of the ways that parents can enable include:
Your teenager needs to know your stance on drug and alcohol abuse. Failing to make that known only sets him or her up to continue. As you know, that can be deadly.
You may have enabled your child in the past because you were scared. So many parents do. However, just because you've done it before, that doesn't mean it has to continue. You still have time to stop it, but you have to set clear boundaries. Let your teen know what behaviors you deem to be unacceptable. After you do, stick to what you say. It's so important for you to be consistent.
If you do have an addicted adolescent, this might be the first time you've faced this. It helps to have some tips so that you know what you should do. We'd like to offer you a few to assist you as you face this crisis with your teenager.
Last Call is a blog that offers information about both drug and alcohol addiction and abuse. It is full of informative information that parents will find to be very useful.
Cathy Taughinbaugh is an excellent blogger who understands teen addiction. Having dealt with it herself, she is there to offer hope and encouragement to parents. This blog is very valuable for any parent who is facing this problem currently.
Getting online support can be important for parents who may have trouble attending in person meetings. These websites offer help to parents who need it during this time.
It's so important for you to get as much information as you can about your child's addiction. Educating yourself is the key to bringing about the change you want to see. To do this, you must do your research on addiction. The more you learn, the more prepared you will be for what lies ahead.
You can also find a lot of great information on addiction at DrugAbuse.gov. This is a government site that is dedicated to substance abuse education. You'll find it to be very informative.
If you have an addicted teen in your home, please know that you can get help. The first thing you should do is try to have a conversation with your teen. If that doesn't seem to do any good, it's time to take the next step.
Consider utilizing intervention services. An intervention can be a very effective tool that you can use to your advantage. During an intervention, you will invite your child's friends and family members to participate. You'll meet with an interventionist who will explain the process to you in detail. You'll talk about the addiction, and you'll be advised on what to say during the meeting.
Please know that you may have to lay down some hard, fast rules. You may have to take away some things that your child loves. If your teen is older, you may even have to threaten to make him or her move out of your home. The advice you'll be given is only for your teenager's good. Please take the advice, and stay consistent. Doing so will only help your child see the need to get drug treatment or alcohol treatment.
At Northpoint Washington, we want to help you. We know how you feel, and we know you're desperate for a solution to this problem.