Drug and alcohol abuse is a problem that our entire country faces together. It's something that ruins lives, no matter what age the usage starts. Unfortunately for our teens, the affects of drug and alcohol use at a young age are far worse than that of an adult. That's why it's important to become educated for not only yourself, but also your children. Adolescents think that it's "cool" to drink alcohol. They worry that they'll look "dumb" if they don't try drugs.
Teen Substance Abuse | Substance Abuse Treatment Centers in Charlotte NC
Knowing what they go through each day is hard to understand, but one thing remains true; it is up to us, as parents, to help them through this difficult time. In order to do so we must, as we mentioned above, educate ourselves and then our children.
In this article, Legacy Freedom, substance abuse treatment centers in Charlotte NC, will go over the various risk factors for both alcohol and drug abuse as well as physical and emotional symptoms and behavioral changes that your teen might be going through as they experiment with substance abuse.
If at any point throughout this article you have questions, feel free to contact us. We are here to help you and your teen through this difficult time.
Risk Factors for Substance Abuse | Substance Abuse Treatment Centers in Charlotte NC
The American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry reports that half of all deaths among young people between the ages of 15 and 20 result from accidents, suicides, or homicides related to alcohol and drug consumption.
There are several risk factors commonly found among teens:
- Addiction in the family's history
- Little to no support at home
- Lack of positive influence from their peers
- Bipolar disorder
- Various other psychiatric disorders
- A past involving sexual or physical abuse
While there are a few common risk factors, that doesn't eliminate anyone from succumbing to using. Sometimes, the brightest kid in the class will fall victim to the temptations or the star athlete whose family is extremely supportive and has friends who only offer the best support and positive influences. It's important to remember that drug and alcohol usage in teens doesn't discriminate. It all depends on each, individual situation.
Why is every teen at risk for using drugs or alcohol? Temptations are everywhere. Friends are using, favorite movie or TV characters are shown having fun, drinking alcohol, liquor cabinets are easily accessible at home or at a friend's house party. There are so many areas of our teen's lives that allow them to come face to face with temptations.
Never assume your teen is safe from substance abuse for any reason. They might be dealing with pressures you don't realize or are worried their friends won't like them anymore if they don't try using.
Having a better understanding of the physical and emotional symptoms of substance abuse is key as well. Often, these will be the only clues you have as to what they're doing outside your home.
Physical and Emotional Symptoms | Substance Abuse Treatment Centers in Charlotte NC
It's likely you won't notice the physical symptoms of substance abuse quickly. Many times, teens use drugs at a party and then come home late at night or the next day. You won't be there to notice their symptoms.
There are immediate and obvious symptoms you could notice after they've had a few too many drinks, like alcohol on the breath, poor motor coordination, slurred speech and flushed faces, but it's doubtful you'll notice the following ongoing physical symptoms in the beginning stages of substance abuse:
- Excessive sleeping
- Glassy eyes
- Inexplicable weight loss or gain
- Puffiness around cheeks and eyes
- Smoke or alcohol smells on the skin, hair or clothing
If and when you do notice any of the symptoms above, be sure to talk about these changes as soon as you notice them. If your teen is sleeping later and later each day or having trouble sleeping at night, consider that uncommon. It will be difficult to approach them, but the end result is the most important. They may become defensive, but making sure their drug or alcohol use doesn't turn into an addiction is the one thing that matters most.
Teens are moody. It's just a rite of passage for this age. We all know what it's like to deal with a teenager who has mood swings. However, if they're accompanied by physical symptoms, depression or other unusual behaviors it can be cause for concern.
- Mood swings
- Unpredictable behaviors
If you notice a pattern of unpredictable emotional behaviors, you might consider this a sign that your teen is drinking or using drugs.
Alcohol abuse, Clinical and Experimental Research published a study that showed a strong correlation between heavy episodic drinking and depression. Alcohol makes some teens more withdrawn than usual. Others may become angry, irritable or aggressive with family. Stimulants (meth or cocaine) trigger hostility, violence or aggression in teens.
Behavioral Signs of Substance Abuse in Teens
When teens are using drugs or alcohol, their daily lives change. Their activities, friends, clothing and attitude undergo a complete overhaul.
The changes should be carefully considered. Sometimes, clothing style changes or different friends many only go with the overall "teen moodiness" that we discussed earlier. It's hard to make sure your teen isn't abusing drugs or alcohol, without crossing a line that might further push them into addiction.
Below, you'll find a few behavioral signs that ultimately do lead the the conclusion that your teen is using.
- Ditching old friends for new ones
- Won't allow you to meet new friends
- Completely uninterested in typical grooming or hygiene
- Aggressive for no reason
- Surly or moody every time you talk to them or see them
- Asks for money frequently
- Asks other family members for money
- Being caught in lies about where they are or have been
- Lying about activities
- Unexpected drop in grades at school
- Uninterested in sports, hobbies or other extra activates they've always enjoyed
Drugs and alcohol change our teens drastically in a short amount of time. If you notice these behavioral changes, it's likely you'll notice more than one or two at a time.
Teenage years are difficult for adolescences. It's a time where they're expected to be more responsible, plan for the future, do well at school and yet still somehow manage to act like the child they're not ready to let go of. It's a hard time for parents as well. One thing is for certain, there are professionals out there that can help you both during this time. If your teen is using drugs or alcohol as a coping mechanism for pressures in life contact our substance abuse treatment centers in Charlotte NC.
Regardless of how bad your teen’s drug use has become, help is always available. With combined support from family and Legacy Freedom, substance abuse treatment centers in Charlotte NC, you are not alone in this, recovery is just around the corner. Help is a phone call or visit away. Contact Legacy Freedom to learn about drug rehab that is tailored to fit the needs of your teen so that they're able to learn how to rejoin life, drug-free.