What All Parents Should Know About Substance Abuse in Teenagers

No family wants to deal with substance abuse. However, the reality is that substance is one of the biggest challenges our society faces. For parents, their worst nightmare can come to fruition when learning their teenager is using and dependent on drugs.

There is hope and light at the end of the tunnel. Many individuals learn a life of recovery and turn their lives into positive examples. In part, this success is due to the profound support by family, peers, and a network of professionals who are committed to providing rehabilitative services.
Substance abuse does not have to lead to a point of no return. The first step that parents can make to ensure the safety and well-being of their children is to understand facts surrounding the disease.

Get the Facts:

  • Adolescents under the age of 18 are at an unpredictable and sometimes awkward time in their life. Natural feelings of insecurity, self-doubt and frustration, coupled with raging hormones, can make them very impressionable and more susceptible to falling prey to vices. Juveniles are also at greater risk of becoming addicts than adults because their brains are not fully developed.
  • The American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry (AACAP)states that teens with family history of substance abuse have higher chances of developing serious habits with drug and alcohol. It is also more likely for those with low self-esteem or depression to become victims. The average age most individuals first consume alcohol is 12, and experimentation with marijuana typically begins at age 14.
  • Teens experiment or become dependent on a wide range of drugs including alcohol, prescribed medication, over-the-counter medications, depressants, stimulants, heroin and designer drugs.
  • Common telltale signs of substance abuse among teens is glazed eyes, appetite loss, erratic behavior, poor judgment, fatigue, indifference towards school and social activities, physical health problems and a change in friends.
  • According to Medicine.net, juveniles who use drugs are more likely to engage in unprotected sex, experience teen pregnancy, suffer from life-threatening diseases and attempt suicide. Substance abuse also increases high school drop-out rates and enduring impoverished conditions, such as homelessness, because of voluntary or involuntary disassociation from family and friends.
  • Drug and alcohol treatment is an invaluable experience for those ready to seek help. Individuals who are pushed by peers and family members are not as likely to remain clean after rehabilitation.
  • The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA)indicates that substance abuse treatment curbs addiction by getting to the root of the problem so individuals can have a better quality of life. However, the selection process can be challenging because there are not “one size fits all” solutions. The extent of drug and alcohol use, as well as the history behind it, differs from person to person. In addition, resources vary by center and the quality of each individual’s interaction with care providers is never the same.

If you know or suspect that your teenager has an abuse problem, contact Pathways for help.