Tuesday, February 20, 2024

How To Help Teenager With Drug Addiction

How To Deal With The Stress Of Worrying About Your Teenager And Drugs

How To Help A Teenager With Drug Addiction

Its completely normal to worry about your teenager. There is nothing more stressful than thinking that your child may have a drug problem. It can affect your sleep, your concentration, and your work and home life. However, if you worry too much, your teen may pick up on it. This might stress them out even more, making it harder for you to work together on solving the problem. Dont forget to take care of yourself at times like these. It will put you in a better place to be in tune with your teenager and support them through this time.Here are some simple ways to calm down and look after yourself:

  • Write about your worries in a journal. Break them down into a simple list.
  • Write down a step-by-step plan to fix the problem.
  • Use a stress app like WorryTime.
  • Spend some time each week doing something you enjoy.
  • Break a sweat. Try a free workout video on YouTube or go for a run.
  • Ditch the scroll on social media occasionally for a device-free night.
  • Get some sleep. Nothing will chill you out more than a regular snooze.
  • Confide in a good mate about what youre going through.

Why Do Teenagers Engage In Risky Behavior Like Using Substances

Teenagers will engage in risky behavior, like using substances, because of several factors.

These include:

  • Poor impulse control
  • Compulsive personality

One risk factor alone may not be enough to spur a teenager to drug use, but a combination of several factors increases the chances that a teen will try alcohol or other drugs. Protective factors, such as anti-drug messages in the community, extracurricular drug testing in school, and positive parental influence, can negate these risk factors to a limited extent.

Teenagers use alcohol or other drugs for a number of reasons. They usually try addictive substances for the first time because of peer pressure or simply their own curiosity. The main reasons for teen drug use drugs include:

  • To have fun
  • To look cool
  • To fit in with friends

Teenagers who drink alcohol or use drugs have very few barriers to prevent them. In most cases, they arent afraid of getting caught, and they have little trouble finding substances of abuse.

Treatment For Teen Drug Abuse

Teen drug abuse can quickly become a teen addiction if left untreated. It is important to take action as soon as possible in order to give your child the best chance of a long and healthy future. There are a number of organisations specialising in treating teenage drug problems, and we can help you to access them. Call Recovery.org.uk today for more information on teen drug abuse.

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Helping The Addicted Parent: A Role Reversal

In a healthy parent-child relationship, the parent takes on the role of the caregiver, providing physical shelter, emotional support, and financial security for a young person who is still developing. In parent-child relationships that involve substance abuse, however, these roles are often reversed, and the child assumes the role of the caregiver. Many children are not even aware that they have taken on this responsibility.

Some of the duties of a child-parent are obvious, like helping an intoxicated father clean up after a night of heavy drinking or getting a part-time job to help cover the cost of groceries. But these responsibilities may also involve a level of emotional intimacy that exceeds the boundaries of a healthy parent-child relationship.

  • Canceling activities with friends in order to stay home with a father who feels isolated because of his drinking
  • Listening to a mother recount stories of sexual encounters that she had when she was high
  • Feeling the need to rescue a parent who is experiencing severe depression or suicidal thoughts
  • Agreeing to sleep in the same bed with a parent who is experiencing anxiety and fear of being alone
  • Using drugs or drinking with an adult guardian in order to create an emotional bond
  • Taking responsibility for a parents addiction, as in, My stepdad has to smoke marijuana because I stress him out so much, or Mom drinks because my father left her after I was born.

Relapse Prevention For Teen Drug Addiction

Enabling Teen Addiction

A relapse is defined by the frequency and the strength of the addictive behavior. If your teen falls back into substance use and cannot stop the behavior, they have relapsed. Going through a relapse doesnt mean they have failed or cannot be helped. It is a good indication that they need more support to prevent such an occurrence again.

Reaching out to teen sobriety services that specialize in teen relapse prevention is an excellent first step in getting help for a teen drug addiction. By doing so, you will give your teen effective and implementable tools to overcome this scary and confusing time in their life. Having a relapse should help to strengthen your teen and help them understand how powerful addiction can be. Teen relapse prevention must be intentional, and you must have a plan in place to get them back on track.

What to Expect

When you enlist the help of a teen sobriety service, part of the focus will be on the triggers your child has that may set them up for a relapse. Triggers vary from person to person, but recognizing them is a powerful tool to add to your teens knowledge bank. Knowing what triggers, they have will make identifying a situation that may result in a relapse easier and a quick reaction to remove themselves from such situations. Some common triggers are:

  • Boredom

  • School problems

Signs Your Teen May be Going Through a Relapse

Some signs of relapse are:

If your teen is showing signs of a relapse it is important to get them help quickly.

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Create And Reinforce Consistent Guidelines

Establishing guidelines will set clear expectations for your child regarding acceptable and unacceptable behaviors. Clear, consistent rules are related to improved outcomes with addiction. Not only will guidelines help your child, they will help determine your reactions to situations as they present.

Guidelines work best when they are developed in collaboration with your child. This way, all parties have a say regarding the consequences of their behaviors before the behavior is completed.

The best guidelines will read like a list of cause and effect statements if occurs will be the consequence. Since it is concretely established, there will be no surprises later. Of course, it will be impossible to cover every contingency, but by establishing guidelines for the most common events, you can reduce the odds of emotionally fueled reactions that have less-than-productive outcomes.

No matter how strong your guidelines, poor consistency will render them ineffective. If your child has been driving under the influence and you take their keys in some situations but not others, you are reducing the efficacy of your guidelines. This inconsistency will diminish the relationship with your child as their respect for you decreases.

How To Deal With A Drug Problem In Your Family

At this point, a teenagers drug use may be creating stress. Open communication can help create a sense of teamwork. Its not you versus them its both of you versus the problem. Saying I feel like you havent been yourself lately. Is there anything you want to talk about? will work better than Youre stressing me out! Whats wrong with you?

If they say: Someone at the party had some and I thought Id try it

  • Ask if they knew what they were taking, and discuss the effects of the drug.
  • Ask if they felt pressured and if they did, discuss some clever ways to say no.

For some more tips on how to respond, check out our drug conversation guide.

There are no hard-and-fast rules here. Try things. Adjust them. Dont give up if things dont work. The more open and non-judgemental you can be, the easier it will be to minimise the harm to your family.

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Which Drugs Are Most Frequently Used By Teens

The good news is that over the past four years, drug use in eighth-, 10th- and 12th-grade teens has declined steadily overall, according to the 2016 Monitoring the Future survey.

However, drug use is still prevalent among teens, and some drugs remain more popular than others. Alcohol is the most frequently used drug among teens, with more than one-third of 12th graders reporting that theyd been drunk at least once.

High school seniors report using the following drugs at least once in the past year:

  • Ecstasy
  • Salvia

Among the amphetamines that were most frequently used, Adderall was the top drug, with 7.4 percent of 12th-graders reporting having used it in the past year. Among prescription painkillers, OxyContin and Vicodin were the most popular drugs in that category.

Drug Information And Education For Parents

Teen Addiction: Prevent Alcohol and Drug Abuse (Mental Health Guru)

When attempting to get your child into recovery from drug abuse, you need to be educated on addiction, the specific substance of abuse, and treatment options. If you lack the knowledge and expertise regarding addiction and your childs drugs of abuse, you will not have the information necessary to assist them.

For example, someone abusing a stimulant substance will react in very different ways when they are under the influence compared to when they have ended a binge. Someone using a depressant substance will present very differently from someone under the influence of other drugs. By researching the signs and symptoms of the drug, you will be able to:

  • Note periods of use.
  • Deliver appropriate consequences.
  • Reduce the risk of manipulation.

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What Is Addiction Myth Vs Reality

Over time, medical research has shown that the social stigma of addiction is based not on facts but on misconceptions of the nature of substance abuse. Research from the National Institute on Drug Abuse confirms that addiction is a disease that arises from the brains response to intoxicating drugs. In the medical community, addiction is now viewed as a chronic condition that is comparable to diabetes, heart disease, or cancer in that it involves cycles of relapse and recovery, and requires continuous symptom management to maintain a state of health.



Addiction happens because of a lack of willpower or self-discipline.

Addiction occurs as a result of chemical changes in the brain caused by drugs or alcohol.

Only children who have no talents or academic potential become addicted to alcohol or drugs.

Substance abuse affects children of all abilities, from high achievers to kids with more moderate gifts.

Only kids from impoverished backgrounds get involved with drugs or alcohol.

Substance abuse affects children from all socioeconomic groups.

A relapse back into drug or alcohol use means that rehab has failed.

Addiction is characterized by relapses, and many people experience multiple relapses before they achieve long-term abstinence.

Once a young person gets involved with drugs or alcohol, they will never succeed in life.

Many young people have built happy, fulfilling lives after being treated for substance abuse.

Addiction will inevitably destroy a family.

Helping Your Teen Understand And Overcome Drug Addiction

Understanding that the teenage brain is much more susceptible to drug addiction and less able to resist the temptation to use drugs is the first part of helping your teen cope with his drug addiction.

Seeking help for your teenager at a drug treatment program that serves teenagers is imperative. While enforcing reasonable consequences is a good start, your teen wont stop their drug abuse because you take away their phone and refuse to let them associate with their friends, whom you assume are responsible for the drug addiction.

Your teenager needs help from a comprehensive treatment program that treats the whole person, not just the addiction. Your encouragement, understanding, and participation in treatment along with your teen is crucial for their recovery.

Give us a call at to learn more about teen drug addiction and our addiction treatment services.


  • Brain in Progress: Why Teens Cant Always Resist Temptation, National Institute on Drug Abuse , 2015 January, Retrieved from http://www.drugabuse.gov/about-nida/noras-blog/2015/01/brain-in-progress-why-teens-cant-always-resist-temptation
  • Drug Facts: Understanding Drug Abuse and Addiction, National Institute on Drug Abuse revised 2012 November, retrieved from http://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/drugfacts/understanding-drug-abuse-addiction
  • New substance abuse treatment resources focusses on teens, National Institutes of Health, 2014 January, Retrieved from http://www.nih.gov/news/health/jan2014/nida-23.htm
  • Recommended Reading: How To Not Be Addicted

    Treatment Options Available For Teens

    Indeed, as a parent, it is your responsibility to help your teenager through this daunting phase. However, sometimes, you may need a bit more than a talk to get rid of the problem.

    Under such circumstances, its imperative that you get treatment from professionals immediately. Otherwise, you risk getting frequent failed attempts at quitting drug abuse.

    Unlike adult treatment centres, there are multiple teenage addiction treatment programs. They enable your teen to get the treatment s/he needs to conquer teenage drug addiction without necessarily missing out on school.

    Why Are Teens More Susceptible To Drug Addiction Than Adults

    Teenage Drug Abuse: Signs and Why Teens Turn to Drugs ...

    Perhaps you never knew that teens suffer from drug addiction more easily than adults do. Teen drug addiction is NOT just the result of teens:

    • Having no self-respect
    • Suffering from peer pressure
    • Bad parenting

    Drug addiction is a complex disease that affects the brain in many ways. Involvement of the brain in drug addiction helps explain the primary reasons that teenagers are more susceptible. This is true no matter what substance is the teens drug of choice.

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    Teenage Study Drug Abuse

    Stimulants are attractive to individuals seeking an increase in energy, mood, or brain function. Prescription drugs like Adderall and Ritalin are commonly prescribed for adolescents with Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder, or ADHD. Teens taking these drugs often find they enhance their ability to focus on school projects and academic performance. Unfortunately, many teens who are not prescribed these drugs abuse them, thinking they will see the same benefits. However, studies consistently show that those who abuse Adderall without a prescription show poorer academic performance. Additionally, these drugs carry substantial addiction risk, along with such side effects as

    • Anxiety

    Substance Abuse And Mental Illness In Kids

    In children and teens, substance abuse may point to an underlying psychological disorder that can be diagnosed and treated with professional help. The National Alliance on Mental Illness estimates that over 50 percent of young people who misuse drugs or alcohol also have psychiatric disorder. In fact, the coexistence of mental health and substance use disorders a condition known as a dual diagnosis is so common that clinicians now anticipate that they will find it when they counsel a young client, NAMI states.

    Adults taking care of children or teenagers must be aware that substance abuse is not the sign of a lack of self-control or weak character, but a brain disorder that may coexist with other psychological disorders.

    Some of the most common co-occurring mental health conditions found with substance abuse in kids include:

    • Depression
    • Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder
    • Bipolar disorder
    • Generalized anxiety disorder

    Mental illness is extremely common in the US among people of all ages. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration states that in 2014 alone, 2.8 million teens between the ages of 12 and 17 had an episode of major depression.

    The following symptoms of mental illness and addiction can be so similar that parents may overlook one or the other:

    • Self-isolation
    • A preoccupation with death or dying
    • Sleeping too much or too little
    • A neglect of grooming and personal hygiene
    • Restlessness or agitation

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    Seek Help For Mental Illness

    Mental illness and substance abuse can often go hand in hand. You may not be aware you are dealing with a mental illness such as depression or anxiety or post-traumatic stress disorder. This is the time to seek professional help from a licensed therapist or counselor at Olympia House. Like many others have experienced before you, we will provide you with healthy coping skills to help alleviate your symptoms without needing to turn to drugs or alcohol.

    Be Prepared For Discharge

    Prevent Teen Alcohol & Drug Addiction | Addictions

    Work with your teenagers addiction treatment facility to put together a plan for their discharge when treatment is over. This might include preparing the home, getting them a job, or signing up for weekly therapy sessions.

    Going back out into the world may be scary and intimidating for them, but if you stick to a plan, you increase their chances of avoiding relapse.

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    Dealing With Troubled Teens: A 7

    When we first become parents, we hear so much about the terrible twos, defined by some as a period in a childs early social development that is associated with defiant or unruly behavior. While two-year-olds may indeed be a handful, theres nothing that compares to the challenge of parenting a teenager especially one who is struggling with addiction or other issues.Many parents dont know what to do or how to react when their lives are turned upside down by their teens behavior. Their parenting becomes a constant cycle of trial and error as they try to navigate their way through the storm. But there are some things all parents can do to help improve a difficult situation.

    Use these 7 tips to make your life easier and help motivate your teenager to change.

    Guide For Parents Of Addicted Children And Teens Part I: The Addiction Problem

    Whether you are a biological parent or guardian of a child, you have probably gone to great lengths to protect that young person from illness and injury. Yet having a child succumb to the disease of addiction can still come as a shock, leaving families unprepared for the consequences. Parents often find that they blame themselves or each other for a childs substance abuse, or that they resent their teenager for getting involved with a bad crowd of kids or for disobeying household rules.

    • Genetic makeup
    • Social influences
    • Psychological condition

    According to the University of Utahs Genetic Science Learning Center, our genes have a powerful influence on the way we respond to drugs or alcohol. However, addiction ultimately occurs as a result of a complex interplay between genetic, environmental, and social factors. A childs home environment, their peer group, stress at school or in social settings, psychological health, and many other factors can increase their vulnerability to substance abuse.

    In order to address the problem of addiction, parents must avoid pointing fingers at one or two members of the household and approach substance abuse as a disease of the brain that both arises from and affects the entire family unit.

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