Deploy Folding Table of contents
- Identifying Substance Abuse in Youth: What Parents Should Know
- Adolescent Drug Abuse: Effects on Mental and Physical Health
- Examining Substance Use Risk Factors Among Adolescents
- Understanding the Warning Signs of Substance Use in Teenagers
- Seeking Treatment Resources for Adolescent Substance Abuse Issues
It is no secret that substance use is a growing problem among adolescents today. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) estimates that over 6 million young people ages 12-17 have used illicit drugs in the past month. While many teens experiment with drugs or alcohol, for others, substance use can become a serious problem. Parents should be aware of the risks and warning signs of substance use among teens, as well as the available treatment resources.
Identifying Substance Abuse in Youth: What Parents Should Know
Substance use among teens involves the use of both legal and illegal drugs and can involve drinking alcohol, smoking cigarettes, and abusing prescription drugs. It is important to be aware of the warning signs of substance use, which can include changes in behavior and attitude, mood swings, poor academic performance, withdrawal from friends and family, or secretive behaviors. It is also important to remember that substance use does not always involve using drugs and alcohol. Substance abuse can also be characterized by hazardous behaviors such as extreme dieting, illegal gambling, or unsafe sexual practices.
Adolescent Drug Abuse: Effects on Mental and Physical Health
Substance use and addiction can lead to serious physical and psychological health problems. Substance abuse can increase risk of accidents or injuries, mental health problems such as depression and anxiety, and even physical illnesses such as heart disease or liver damage. Teens can also be at risk of developing an addiction, which can lead to problems in relationships, mental health issues, and financial difficulties. In the worst cases, substance use can lead to overdose and death.
Examining Substance Use Risk Factors Among Adolescents
There are a variety of factors that can increase risk of substance use among teens, including personal and environmental factors. Personal risk factors can include mental health issues such as depression or anxiety, low self-esteem, or a family history of substance use. Environmental risk factors can include living with individuals who use or abuse drugs or alcohol, easy access to drugs or alcohol, exposure to drug-related media, or living in high-stress environments.
Understanding the Warning Signs of Substance Use in Teenagers
Identifying the warning signs of substance use can help parents address the issue before it becomes a serious problem. Common signs of substance use in teens can include changes in behavior or attitude, physical changes such as red eyes or changes in sleeping or eating patterns, withdrawal from friends and family, secretive behaviors, or changes in academic performance. Additionally, parents should be aware of any legal issues or possession of drug-related paraphernalia such as pipes or rolling papers.
Seeking Treatment Resources for Adolescent Substance Abuse Issues
If you suspect that your teen is using drugs or alcohol, it is important to seek help as soon as possible. Treatment for substance use in teens should involve a combination of medical and mental health interventions, such as psychotherapy, medication management, supportive services, and relapse prevention. Treatment should be tailored to the individual teen’s needs and may include inpatient or outpatient programs, 12-step programs, or support groups. Treatment should also involve the family to ensure that the teen has a supportive environment to recover.
Substance use among adolescents is a growing problem, but it is important to remember that treatment is available. By understanding the warning signs of substance use, identifying the risk factors, and seeking treatment resources, parents can help their teens find a safe and healthy path to recovery.
- Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA): https://www.samhsa.gov/
- National Institute on Drug Abuse: https://www.drugabuse.gov/
- Mitchell, S. et al. (2019). Adolescent Substance Abuse: Current Trends and Interventions. Child and Adolescent Psychiatric Clinics of North America, 28(4): 543-556.