First of all, the fact is that every day, thousands of young people experiment with illicit drugs. Many of them will never take their drug use beyond this experimentation level. But far too many will continue to engage in this behavior until their drug abuse disrupts their lives.
Because teens are by definition too young to buy or drink alcohol, any illicit substance use is defined as drug abuse for a teenager.
The most popular drugs of abuse among teens include marijuana, prescription drugs, and alcohol according to the National Drug Intelligence Center. Also on the list are over-the-counter drugs. This includes cough syrups and medications that use pseudoephedrine. In addition, it includes inhalants, especially among younger teens and adolescents.
Teenage Drug Abuse and When to Step In
Parents who notice the changes in their teen’s life must step in. They need to set serious boundaries and limits. But if drug abuse has bloomed into drug addiction, the problem has morphed. Therefore, it has gone from a disciplinary issue to one that is medical in nature.
At any point along the way, teen drug addiction treatment is the appropriate response. There are many different options in treatment. They range from weekly drug counseling to full-time residential care. Teens at any level of drug abuse or addiction can benefit from enrollment. If you would like to learn more about the options available to you or your teen, contact us at Newport Academy. We are here to help.
Teen Drug Abuse
Like everything that defines life as a teenager in America, trends dictate which drugs are in highest use. Furthermore, different regional preferences and accessibility play a role. These factors influence which drugs take precedence, as does the media and pop culture references.
Currently, some of the most commonly abused drugs by teens include:
Don’t Ignore the Signs
This is true for a number of reasons. Drug abuse is dangerous and deadly. Ignoring the issue encourages repeated behavior. It also increases the risk of experiencing lifelong negative effects, including overdose and accident.
Uncontrolled drug abuse can quickly turn into addiction. In addition, if the choice to abuse drugs is an effort to garner attention, other serious issues may go untreated and unaddressed.
Signs of Teen Drug Abuse
Recognizing the signs and symptoms of teen drug use can help parents to avoid being surprised. Consequently, when the use of substances disrupts the life of a teen, you can be armed with the information you need. Each drug causes different effects. According to Medline Plus, parents can look for the following signs of drug abuse:
- New smells. Marijuana, alcohol, and substances that create fumes for huffing are all pungent. Parents who notice strong smells in their homes, cars, or on their teen’s possessions may be tipped off to drug abuse
- Changes in personality. If your teen’s mood alters significantly and quickly, it could be a normal sign of teenage hormones or it could be a sign of drug abuse
- Changes in behavior. Secretive behavior, lying and angry outbursts that seem unprovoked may be signs that drugs are an issue
- Changes in interest. Suddenly losing interest in sports, hobbies, and goals can be a sign that something else has become a priority. Also, if this happens at the same time as some of the other changes, this can potentially mean that drug abuse is an issue
- Changes in friends. Trading old friends or suddenly hanging out with a new crowd may signify that the teen is changing his or her interests and perspective. In addition, it can include a new take on drug use and a willingness to take risks.
Stop Drug Abuse From Becoming Addiction
According to the US National Library of Medicine, about 15 percent of high school seniors have reported abuse of prescription drugs. 32 percent said that they abused marijuana during the year prior to the survey. Inhalants are a common drug of abuse among younger teens, according to the same source. It is important for parents to realize that the risk that their teen will abuse drugs during their high school years is high. But that they have the power to help their teen get back on track when they take certain measures.
Parents Must Take Charge
It is important for parents to realize that the risk that their teen will abuse drugs during their high school years is high. But that they have the power to help their teen get back on track when they take certain measures. These include:
- Immediate Action. Parents who find that their teen is abusing drugs or alcohol must immediately address the situation to increase their chances of having a positive impact on the situation. Many parents are lenient in the beginning. Unfortunately, only to find later that permissiveness provides teens with the opportunity for addiction. No amount of drug use or abuse is okay in any context. Parents should address the issue immediately. After discussing the specifics with a parenting partner, take steps to protect the teen.
- Set Boundaries. Sitting down and discussing the issue of drug abuse is the best way to establish boundaries. Choose a time when the teen is lucid. Be calm. Make sure that boundaries make sense. Parents should clearly outline the expectations going forward. You need consequences if expectations are not met. Offering the teen a chance to ask questions and discuss his or her feelings on drug abuse can help them. Furthermore, this may determine what else may be driving the behaviors so underlying issues can be addressed.
- Follow Through With Consequences. If the teen continues to abuse drugs and alcohol despite boundaries, parents must follow through on the consequences. Avoiding punishments that are inconvenient or upsetting is a step backward.
- Follow up With Treatment. If teens break the rules despite open communication, boundaries, and follow-through, treatment may be necessary. Counseling and outpatient care may be the first step. But, if repeated drug abuse occurs or the teen makes dangerous choices, treatment may be best.
What Makes Teen Treatment Different?
Young people engage in drug use for different reasons than adults. Due to this, they need different treatment methods to help them break the cycle of addiction. Some of the root causes and co-occurring issues that addressed in teen drug rehab include:
- Peer pressure. A young person’s social group plays an important role in the choices they make. Friends that experiment with drugs makes the individual much more likely to take part in that behavior themselves.
- Self-image issues. Often, the cause of drug addiction, alcohol addiction, and eating disorders, is a poor sense of self. This can lead to escapist behavior that includes substance abuse.
- Problems at home. Many teenagers turn to drugs to escape problems at home. This is most common in families where there is physical abuse, sexual abuse or other forms of neglect and conflict.
- Co-occurring disorders. Bipolar Disorder, Borderline Personality Disorder, Attention deficit and hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), depression, and eating disorders are commonly co-occurring with drug abuse and addiction. Therefore, these problems will need to be addressed at the same time that drug abuse is treated to achieve optimum success.
The Difference Between Outpatient and Residential Drug Treatment
Outpatient and inpatient treatment programs are viable options. Both have merits for different patients.
According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), here are ways treatment helps teens fight substance use disorder:
- Relapse prevention. Inpatient and outpatient treatment have measures in place to stop teens from abusing drugs. Outpatient programs offer random drug testing. Inpatient care provides 24-hour supervision.
- Individual counseling. Many teens use drugs and alcohol to deal with underlying issues and trauma. In counseling, teens explore issues to heal on a deeper level.
- Family therapy. Problems at home may be at the root of drug abuse issues for teens. At teen rehab, family therapy is a part of the program. This provides parents, guardians, siblings, and teens with a safe place to learn. The entire family can learn how to move forward with the right communication tools and expectations.
- Peer interaction. Group sessions happen at inpatient and outpatient rehab programs. They offer teens the chance to practice positive interactions. This also shows them that they are not alone. At residential treatment, teens get more opportunities to positively interact and bond with peers.
- Aftercare. Both inpatient and outpatient addiction treatment centers follow up with aftercare services. These include but are not limited to counseling, 12-step meetings, family therapy, workshops, and alternative practices like yoga, meditation, and more.
Learn More: Contact Newport Academy Today
In conclusion, Newport Academy provides both residential treatment and outpatient care for teens. Our staff is comprised of caring professionals. All of us are devoted to helping teens overcome and live long, healthy lives.
Contact Newport Academy today for more information.