Thinking about the health risks of drug or alcohol use is scary. It's even more so when you're thinking about the problems it can cause for your teenagers. While you might understand what's at stake, it's doubtful your teen will. When you try talking with them about the risks it's probably like talking to a brick wall. Adolescents are stubborn, moody and think they know everything. It's just that age. They believe they're exempt from anything bad happening to them. At Legacy Freedom, drug and alcohol treatment center, we deal with teens every day. They truly believe that drugs or alcohol won't affect them in a bad way.
Health Risks for Teens
Teens are strong, healthy and ready to face the world. They rarely think about what drug or alcohol usage can do to their body. They especially don't think about the fatalities that come with it each year either. Premature death, chronic disease and accidental injury can easily happen before our teens give a second thought to it.
The first step to ensuring our teens are aware of what can happen to them while using drugs or alcohol has to do with education. Before that can happen, parents must first understand what dangers lie with substance abuse. Learning how it can affect health and what risks are at stake is the best way to start helping your teen.
The U.S. Surgeon General reports that growing teens are especially susceptible to the harmful effects of alcohol on the brain. Whether the effects are temporary or long-term, the way they feel, act and think will be affected. They won't be able to function properly.
Effects on the Body
As we mentioned above, teens are strong and resilient. They do not, however, hold the ability to be unaffected by substance abuse risks. In addition to many different types of effects, addiction is the biggest concern. Using drugs or alcohol daily or even every few days can cause our bodies to rely on them, no matter what age we are. This is especially true for teens. Withdrawal symptoms come after excessive use and the teens continue to perpetuate the vicious cycle of using because they're unable to handle withdrawal symptoms. Withdrawal, in itself, poses several risk factors:
- Muscle spasms
- High blood pressure
Accidental injuries are among some of the most dangerous health risks when teens have a substance abuse problem. Their ability to function normally is gone. They feel even more invincible. They show dangerous behaviors and are prone to risk-taking because of the affect the drugs or alcohol has on their brain.
According to The Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, the following health risks are most common when teens abuse drugs or alcohol:
- Amplified risk of exposure to blood-borne illnesses like hepatitis
- Amplified threat of self-injury or suicide
- Larger possibility of motor vehicle accidents
- Greater danger of violent altercations and homicide
- Increased hazard of exposure to sexually transmitted diseases like HIV/AIDS
Teen's organs can be affected by substance abuse as well, including:
- Digestive organs
Chronic disease that can occur during teen years, or later on due to adolescent substance abuse include:
- Heart disease
- Liver disease
Why Do Teens Use Drugs and Alcohol?
Wondering why our kids choose to use drugs or alcohol can consume our lives. Sometimes they're used out of curiosity, because they're feeling bad about themselves or they worry that their friends won't like them anymore if they don't join in.
Unfortunately, teen's brains are still developing throughout their adolescent years. This means that drugs and alcohol use can have a serious effect on them, both psychologically and neurologically. They're at greater risk for issues than adults who use. According to Clinical EEG & Neuroscience Journal, drug and alcohol use can alter the structure, function and cognitive abilities of a growing brain.
Whatever the reason for your child's substance abuse issues, try to focus on the big picture. Using can and will affect them both temporarily and long-term. This is the most important lesson to learn during this article.
The transition teens face into adulthood is difficult. It's confusing and overwhelming. This alone is why many of our kids tend to use drugs. They need an escape from all the pressure that comes with learning to be an adult. They find themselves emotionally unstable and feel unable to handle everyday life.
How Can Parents Help?
There's no sure way to guarantee your teen doesn't partake in substance abuse at some point in their adolescent lives, but we can offer a few tips that will help them think twice before doing so.
- Be open and honest with them about health risks
- Never use drugs or alcohol when they're around
- Consider your own physical and mental health needs and be a role model to your teen
- Be supportive
- Be positive
- Remind them you're always there for them
- Contact our drug and alcohol treatment center to talk with a professional about the help your teen needs
- Recognize the signs and symptoms of drug and alcohol use as they're shown
- Talk with your teen about their behavioral changes and why you're concerned
Dealing with teen drug or alcohol abuse is difficult as a parent. That's why we are here to help you and your teen through this complicated and dangerous situation. If you have questions or concerns about the risk of substance abuse or want to learn more about our personalized rehabilitation treatment, don't hesitate to contact us at any time.
Legacy Freedom is here for you and your teen. Our alternative programs are geared toward the needs of the patient. We don't offer an in-house facility, either. Outpatient therapy has proven to be far more successful than that of a traditional, lock-down facility. We encourage teens to go about their school and work schedules while receiving treatment. We also encourage parents to join us for group sessions as well.
Our Holistic Drug and Alcohol Treatment
If your teen son or daughter is suffering from a substance abuse problem, it's time to get them some help. While it’s easy for them to believe they are alone in this struggle that is the farthest thing from the truth. There are numerous teens and young adults dealing with addiction, all over the world. Regardless of how bad drug or alcohol use has become, help is always available. Contact Legacy Freedom if your teen needs our drug and alcohol treatment services. We are here to help them get back on track to a healthier, happier life.