More than 2 million teens in the United States alone abuse drugs at least once every month. If you have a teen and you are worried that they might experiment with drugs at school, it might be time to talk about teens and addiction with your child. The dangers of drugs and alcohol are certainly no joke, no matter how old a person is.
However, teens are especially vulnerable to drug addiction. They may try a certain drug for fun and unintentionally become addicted. Once an addiction forms, it can be very hard to shake.
So, how can you ensure your teen stays away from drugs and alcohol? Keep reading and learn more about how to prevent addiction in your child.
Understand Why a Teen Might Abuse Drugs or Alcohol
Teens may use alcohol or drugs for many reasons. For example, a group of teens might pressure another into drinking alcohol with them. This peer pressure can make a teen feel that they won’t be “cool” or part of the group unless they do what everyone else is doing.
As a result, they may only use drugs or alcohol to fit in. This, of course, is irrational, but teens have an innate need to fit in and establish themselves among a group. When it comes to drug and alcohol education, it is important to tell your child not to give into peer pressure when drugs and alcohol are involved.
Instead of giving into the pressure, the teen should walk away. This can be difficult for a teen to do since the teen might feel that they won’t have any friends or that they might lose friends if they don’t conform with other troublesome teens. It is important to explain that drug and alcohol use is not impressive or cool but instead very dangerous and foolish.
The Details of Substance Abuse
These parent-child conversations will form the foundation of your child’s outlook on drug use. If you never talk about drug or alcohol use with your child, your child may think that this kind of substance abuse is all that bad, and they may even be tempted to try it. But if you have a conversation about it and explain how dangerous substance use is and what it can do to the body, your teen will be less likely to get involved with substance abuse.
Besides peer pressure, another reason why a teen may get involved with drug use is to relieve some sort of problem. For example, if your teen is suffering from anxiety, they may seek out drugs or alcohol to calm this problem. Of course, substance abuse is not the right way to treat anxiety.
If you think that your child may be suffering from anxiety or another mental health problem, it is important to have it treated by a professional. That way, your child will have treatment options that are actually helpful rather than dangerous and addictive.
Your child may also be more likely to become addicted to drugs if there is a family history of substance abuse. Some people are more likely to become addicted to drugs and alcohol than others, even after one use. Others are less likely and may not become addicted even after using a substance several times.
Many people don’t realize that vaping can be just as dangerous as hard drugs. Many parents, in particular, don’t know this and let their teens vape as often as they want. Nicotine vapes come with all the harmful effects of cigarettes.
They are especially bad for the heart and lungs. In some cases, they can even cause heart attacks and high blood pressure. The worst part about vaping is that vapes can cause serious withdrawal symptoms if your teen tries to stop.
This is one of the many reasons why it is important to talk to your teen about the dangers of vaping, drugs, and alcohol.
Pay Closer Attention to Your Teen
If you are still worried about your teen getting involved with drug and alcohol use, even after talking to them about it, it is important to keep a close eye on them. If you are more observant, you will be able to have a better inclination as to whether or not your teen is involved in any kind of substance abuse. This does not mean that you need to spy on your teen every moment of the day.
However, you should be aware of when your teen comes home, how your teen looks when they come home if they are acting any different than usual, and so on. The early signs of addiction are often very slight, and you might not be able to notice them if you don’t pay very close attention. You should also keep an eye on your teen’s friends if they ever visit.
They may be the ones to introduce your child to drugs and alcohol. If they act or look strange compared to normal, healthy teens, they may be involved in substance abuse as well. If you think your teen might already be abusing drugs or alcohol, there are a few important signs you can look for.
For example, your teen may start to become unusually withdrawn not only from you but from their friends. They may try to avoid people whenever they can, and their schedule may change. Instead of doing their schoolwork or going to school, they may skip school and decide not to do their homework at all.
Signs of Early Drug Addiction in Teens
Even if they do still go to school, you may notice that their grades are plummeting. Your teen may also start to behave in strange ways and may do inappropriate things. For example, they may try to steal money from you to buy drugs or alcohol.
Their behavior may also change depending on what kind of drug they are abusing. For example, stimulant drugs may make your teen unusually energetic and hyper. On the other hand, suppressants like alcohol will make your teen more sluggish.
You should also look for any physical signs of drug abuse in your child’s room. If you find any old needles, pipes, or any other similar objects, these are all signs that your child may be abusing drugs. But what should you do if your child is using drugs?
How can you stop this problem from getting any worse? The trick has to do with enforcing consequences and getting your child professional help. After all, if you don’t do anything, your teen’s addiction will only get worse and worse.
Enforcing Consequences and Helping Your Teen
Suppose you know that your child is abusing drugs, but you don’t do or say anything about it. This certainly isn’t going to help the problem, and your child will continue using the drugs. Instead, you will have to be very firm and set consequences.
You can shape the consequences however you like as long as they function to punish the child for bad and dangerous behavior. For example, if your teen usually receives an allowance, you should withhold the allowance whenever the teen abuses an addictive substance. It is important to be consistent with these punishments.
If you punish your teen one time but not the next, your teen will begin to think that they can always get away with bad behavior. Even if your child throws a tantrum, it is of utmost importance that you don’t give in. If you do, then your child will know that as long as they throw a big tantrum, they can get their way.
This, of course, is no way to deal with a problem as serious as substance abuse.
Treating the Issue
If you find that one consequence isn’t working, try enacting a more severe punishment, such as grounding your child for a week or month. At the same time, it is important to be supportive and to try and communicate with your child about this issue in a meaningful way.
That way, your child will know that you are trying to help rather than only trying to punish him. If you still find that you are having trouble keeping your teen’s drug problem in check, it will be a good idea to get professional help for the teen. There are many drug rehab facilities available that you can take your teen to.
Your teen may be reluctant to go to such a facility, but it is your job as a parent to help your teen with this dangerous problem. The professionals at rehab facilities have the skills and experience to help people overcome their addictions so that they won’t have to deal with the problem later on in life. It may take some time for your teen to kick their addiction, but with professional help, it will happen sooner or later.
All About Teens and Addiction
The mix of teens and addiction is not a healthy blend. Teens may abuse drugs and alcohol due to peer pressure, mental health issues, and other reasons. Once an addiction forms, the teen’s behavior, and actions may start to change. It is important to prevent teen addiction from happening in the first place, but if you suspect that your teen is already on drugs, it is best to seek professional help.
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