At one time or another, most teens find themselves in situations that involve making difficult decisions regarding alcohol and drugs. The choices teens make can not only have a significant impact on their future, but they may not be able to comprehend how big an impact when they are being faced with a decision to join in or be different..
Peer pressure can be intense during the teen years and can be the influence that causes a teen to take that first drink or use drugs for the first time, never considering the possibility of teen addiction.
Recognizing the problem
It can be difficult to distinguish normal teen behavior from some signs of addiction. Parents can watch for changes in usual behavior, which may include mood swings, lowered grade averages, and withdrawal from loved ones. Teens may also begin hanging out with disreputable people and spending more money than usual.
How can teen addiction be helped?
Fortunately, there are ways to help those struggling with substance use. Four methods in particular have shown to be the most helpful:
- Admitting to yourself and others that you do have a problem. This is the most difficult step in any recovery process, but it is also the most necessary. Understanding that there is a problem allows a person to consider solutions Talking to friends and family and asking for support. Family members and trusted friends can be counted on to provide encouragement and support. Sharing the problem provides relief and the awareness that there is backup help.
- Enroll at a treatment center or teen drug-counseling program. These programs exist to help people who have fully admitted to the fact that they have a problem that needs to be resolved. Whether the program is outpatient or residential, therapy and other treatments are focused on a successful outcome, a substance free life, and beating teen addiction.
- Avoid temptation. Going to places that will inevitably have alcohol or drugs will only make the struggle more difficult. Instead, socialize in places that are entirely free of substances until you feel that you have gained a stronger sense of self-control and can manage your former addictive impulses.
How to get started on recovery
Before beginning any recovery program, it is advisable to consult a primary care physician to determine exactly what you are dealing with and discuss the different options available. A doctor can point an individual in the right direction, providing a diagnosis and recommendations for counseling or treatment programs.
The most effective solution to drug and alcohol addiction is counseling. Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) and Narcotics Anonymous (NA) programs for those struggling with alcoholism or drug use have chapters all over the United States and are proven to help those trying to stop using drugs or alcohol.
Drug use and alcoholism that begins in the teen years can become the starting point for substance use, which can result in a downward spiral for years to come. The more information a teen has about the possible consequences of drug and alcohol use, the less likely they may be to participate unwisely.