Anyone can become addicted to drugs—including your teenager. Teens may be exposed to a variety of illicit and dangerous substances at parties, through friends, or even right at home. Teenagers often don’t understand the severe physical, mental, and social consequences of drug dependency and they need help from parents to overcome a drug problem fully should one develop.
Recognize the Signs of Abuse
It can be easy to write off your teenager’s strange or moody behavior as normal side effects of puberty. However, when “normal” behaviors turn into depression, withdrawal, loss of interest, relationship problems, and trouble in school, it could indicate a bigger problem. Signs that your teen has a drug or alcohol dependency can include:
- Bloodshot eyes and enlarged or shrunken pupils
- Changes in eating or sleeping habits
- Sudden change in weight
- Deterioration in physical appearance and grooming habits
- Changes in peer group
- Trouble in school or with the law
- Missing classes or skipping school
- Loss of interest in regular activities
Drugs and alcohol affect the parts of the brain that control judgment, decision-making, memory, learning, and behavior. Intervening at the first signs of drug or alcohol abuse can significantly improve your teenager’s chances of making a full recovery and leading a productive life.
Seek the Right Help for Your Teen
Often, drug or alcohol abuse stems from a deeper issue, such as a traumatic experience. A divorce, bad breakup, or other traumatic event can lead teenagers to seek relief in substances. Finding the right help for your teen is crucial in the overall healing and recovery process.
Is Intervention the Right Choice?
University of Minnesota Medical School researchers conducted a study into the effectiveness of interventions for teenagers involved with drugs. The study concluded that brief interventions are more effective in handling mild to moderate instances of substance abuse than severe cases. These deter involvement with drugs or alcohol quickly and effectively, informing the teen about the harms associated with dependency and giving advice on the steps to take toward healing. Based on the severity of your teen’s drug problem, brief interventions may or may not be the ideal choice.
How to Conduct an Intervention
Confrontational interventions like those on TV are typically not the best solution to your teen’s problem. Your teen will likely become confrontational and could even be pushed further into substance abuse. Instead, create incentives for your teenager to seek professional help. Express your love and support, but get them professional treatment.
A professional family intervention center will walk you through the best steps to get your teen into treatment and will be with your family every step of the way. Making the decision to seek help for your teen’s substance abuse is the first and most difficult step of the process. Once you decide your teen needs professional help, experts on substance dependencies among teenagers will help you conduct an intervention and make a solid, customized plan for an addiction-free future.
Give Your Teenager a Brighter Future
Recovery from an addiction or misuse of marijuana, methamphetamine, ecstasy, heroin, cocaine, alcohol, or other substances doesn’t happen alone. Your teen needs the guidance of a strong support group to recover and move past a drug or alcohol dependency. There may be difficult times ahead for your teen, but the alternative is much worse.
Ever wonder what role you or a family member plays in an addicts life? Find out what role you play below.