Teen Substance Abuse

Teen substance abuse is a serious issue. Worried that your teen is experimenting with or abusing alcohol or drugs? Learn about warning signs of teen substance abuse and what treatment options are available to help teens overcome substance abuse problems.

One of the most difficult issues to deal with is teen substance abuse. It can be difficult to open your eyes to the fact that your teenager is abusing different substances and may even need help. However, it is vital that you pay attention, and be on the look out for teen substance abuse. Not only can teen substance abuse result in legal consequences, but it can also result in long term health problems. It is important that you help your teenager by being on the lookout for the signs of substance abuse, and then help your teen get the treatment he or she needs in order to overcome this abuse.

Signs of teen substance abuse

Many teenagers tell themselves that they are just experimenting, or that they only use substances on occasion. However, they might not realize that they are on the path to addiction. This can be a dangerous path to walk, since it means the body is becoming dependent on the drug in order to function normally. Additionally, teenagers can abuse substances to the point where it is difficult for them to quit. Here are some of the signs that your teenager may be abusing substances:

  • Begins to lose interest in activities that he or she used to enjoy.
  • Becomes moody and irritable.
  • Eyes appear bloodshot a great deal of the time.
  • Sleeping habits change.
  • Dramatic weight changes.
  • Stops spending time with old friends.
  • Grades begin to drop.
  • Obsessed with getting more money (so that he or she can buy more of the substance).
  • Steals money or valuable objects from around the house.
  • Refuses to spend time with the family.
  • Has drug paraphernalia.
  • Notice empty bottles, cans or joint wrappers in garbage cans.
  • You seem to be going through pills (especially pain relievers) faster than normal.
  • Smell of smoke or alcohol around your teenager.
  • Begins to disregard personal hygiene.

Some of these signs, such as mood swings, and an occasional tendency to avoid family members, are part of the teen years, and part of growing up. It is important that you watch carefully for additional signs that your teenager is actually abusing substances. Some of the milder signs of teen substance abuse can be confused with normal teen rebellion and confusion. One of the things you can do is to make sure that the lines of communication are open between you and your teen, so that he or she is more likely to be open with you. Additionally, parents who are involved in their teens’ lives are more likely to help them steer clear of teen substance abuse.

Treatment for teen substance abuse

If it becomes clear that your teenager is abusing substances, it is important that you do what you can to get help for him or her. There are a number of drug treatment options and teen substance abuse treatment options available. You can check with your family doctor, or with the social services agency in your city to help you determine different options for treatment. Your ecclesiastical leader for your church congregation may also have some good ideas of what you can do.

Many parents like to start with local solutions, such as counseling, support groups and teen substance abuse programs in their cities. However, in some cases these may not work. If you find that local programs are not working for your teenager, it might be a good idea to consider residential treatment facilities.

Residential treatment facilities help teens overcome teen substance abuse problems by getting them away from the negative influences in their lives, and by helping them learn techniques to overcome addiction. There is often medical and counseling staff on hand to help teens get through withdrawal symptoms, and also to help them learn to psychologically move beyond their teen substance abuse problems. Some facilities even provide school tutoring so that the teenager can keep up with his or her studies while living away from home.

Every teenager is different, and so you will have to approach treatment differently, depending on your teen’s needs. However, in overcoming teen substance abuse, a good support system is always needed, and you will need to show your unconditional love and concern as your teenager works toward recovery.

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