The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently released a report identifying the major mental health problems among adolescents age 12 to 17. While drug and alcohol abuse and addiction are often thought of as “adult” problems, the report demonstrated otherwise, noting a million teenagers who abuse drugs and/or alcohol. With those numbers so high and with the many harmful consequences that often accompany substance abuse, it’s important to talk to your teen about the dangers of these behaviors and, if your child is abusing drugs or alcohol and unable to stop, to seek professional help for him or her.
Educating Teens on Drug and Alcohol Abuse
It is wise to start educating your children about the harmful effects of drugs and alcohol as early as possible. As soon as your child is able to understand these issues, you’re ready to start discussing them. And don’t think that just one talk will do the trick; instead, discuss drugs and alcohol with your child regularly, especially as he or she goes through certain milestones, such as starting middle school or high school.
It’s always best to institute a strict “no-use” policy when it comes to drugs and alcohol. While some parents feel comfortable allowing their teens to drink in their presence or to drink with certain limitations, this is not at all advisable, not to mention illegal in many states. Likewise, parents should set good examples by abstaining from drugs and alcohol around children or, at the very least, using alcohol responsibly.
Is Your Teen Using Drugs or Alcohol?
Sometimes, even those parents who do everything “right” still end up having children who abuse drugs or alcohol. Never assume that your child will not abuse substances because you don’t or have told them not to; no matter how much you trust him or her, be knowledgeable about and watchful for the warning signs that your teen may be abusing substances. They include:
- Sudden, unexplained development of behavioral issues
- Changes in personal appearance/grooming
- Changes in personal behavior, including changes in interests and friends
- Drug or alcohol paraphernalia in the teen’s room or car
- Missing alcohol or prescription medications at home
- Mood swings and/or depression
- Sudden, unexplained health problems and/or more frequent health problems
- Missing school or work
When Your Teen Is Abusing Substances
If you do find out that your teen is abusing drugs or alcohol or if you strongly believe that he or she may be, contact us at Newport Academy. Drug and alcohol problems do not and will not go away on their own. We’re here to help you get your teen back on track quickly, efficiently and safely. Call now.