The discovery of drug abuse in a teenager can be a nightmare for parents. Adolescents who experiment with drugs and alcohol are at a higher risk of developing substance addiction in adulthood. It’s crucial for parents to recognize the signs and symptoms of drug or alcohol abuse in their teens.
Understanding how to effectively address substance abuse concerns, and where to seek help, can significantly reduce the likelihood of addiction as the teenager grows older. Our residential substance abuse treatment for teens at Ridge RTC utilizes individualized therapy and programs to help teens recover from various addictions.
What Leads Teenagers to Abuse Drugs or Alcohol?
Drugs and alcohol have various effects on the brain and body. Regardless of the presence or absence of risk factors, substances impact individuals similarly, but not everyone becomes addicted. The journey towards addiction differs for each person; someone with all known risk factors for drug or alcohol addiction might not develop an addiction. Conversely, a teenager with no risk factors could become addicted after their initial exposure to drugs or alcohol.
Predicting addiction is impossible, but several known risk factors can increase the likelihood of developing an addiction. Moreover, specific risk factors inherent to adolescence can heighten addiction rates among vulnerable groups.
For example, the onset of mental health disorders typically occurs during teenage years. Teens often don’t understand what’s happening to them and may resort to drugs or alcohol to relieve distressing symptoms of depression, anxiety, or other mental health issues.
Studies indicate that up to 50% of individuals entering drug and alcohol rehabilitation have a coexisting mental health condition, either triggering or exacerbating their addiction disorder. It’s crucial for parents to ensure their teen receives appropriate treatment for a comprehensive evaluation and management of any underlying mental health disorders.
- Exhibiting aggressive behavior at an early age
- Insufficient parental supervision
- Inadequate social skills
- Presence of substance abuse within the peer group
- Effortless access to drugs or alcohol at home, school, or among peers
- Economic hardship
- Unstable home environment
- Experiencing abuse
- Struggles with academic performance or failures
- Having a parent or caregiver involved in drug or alcohol abuse
- Perceiving drug use and drinking as harmless
Studies have shown that the most substantial risk factor for teenage drug abuse is the presence of drugs within the adolescent’s peer group, coupled with insufficient parental supervision. Research also indicates that the most vulnerable times in a teen’s life are during significant transitional periods when they are more likely to experiment with drugs or alcohol. These critical moments include divorce or separation, relocation, the loss of a friend or family member, and transitions from elementary school to middle school, high school, and college.
Nonetheless, certain protective factors can help counter these risks. A robust parental bond, academic proficiency, self-control, a strong connection to the neighborhood, and parental supervision can reduce these risk factors and safeguard teens against drug and alcohol abuse.
- Risk factors may predispose some teens to use drugs and alcohol, and there are specific reasons that attract teens to these substances. The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) highlights several common motivations for teenagers experimenting with drugs and alcohol:
- To conform with friends: If a teenager’s social circle involves drug use, they might experiment to avoid rejection from their peers.
- For exploration: Teen substance abuse can sometimes stem from their natural inclination to take risks, leading them to try drugs and alcohol out of curiosity.
- To enhance performance: When faced with pressure to excel academically or athletically, teens may resort to stimulants and other substances, believing they offer a competitive edge.
- To experience happiness: Drugs induce a temporary high that brings a surge of joy, which can be appealing in itself. For teens struggling with mental health issues, drugs may temporarily alleviate feelings of depression or anxiety.
What Should Parents Do if They Suspect Their Teen Is Using Drugs or Alcohol?
Before addressing a teenager about potential drug use or alcohol addiction, it’s crucial for parents to consult a qualified drug addiction counselor experienced in treating adolescents. A counselor at Ridge RTC can assist parents in emotionally preparing for the conversation with their teen, help the family establish realistic goals, and address any questions or concerns regarding rehabilitation treatment for young patients. While discussions of this nature with a teen may not go as smoothly as parents hope, a counselor can guide them in initiating the dialogue and employing de-escalation techniques to maintain a productive conversation.
When individuals addicted to drugs or alcohol face the prospect of losing access to the substance, they may react with panic, aggression, and irrational behavior. The absence of an addictive substance can lead to withdrawals, which are frequently painful and distressing. It’s essential for parents to have a well-prepared rehab plan for their teen.
At Ridge RTC, our teens receive care from doctors and medical professionals who can help manage painful withdrawal symptoms. Knowing that they won’t have to endure withdrawals without support can make the idea of attending our substance abuse treatment for teens less daunting and stressful.
What to Expect from Substance Abuse Treatment for Teens
Drug and alcohol rehabilitation for teenagers follows a similar approach to that of adults dealing with substance abuse. Typically, a teen will undergo medical detoxification to reduce the severity of withdrawal symptoms. The withdrawal period poses the highest risk of relapsing to alleviate these symptoms.
By staying in our residential program, teenagers are placed in an environment without access to drugs or alcohol. Additionally, they are in contact with medical professionals and counselors trained to help them navigate the withdrawal process with minimal pain and discomfort.
Individualized Teen Therapy Programs
Teen counseling helps in comprehending and coping with complex emotions and managing mental health conditions. This form of counseling typically involves talk therapy conducted individually with a therapist or counselor. It is crucial to establish a secure environment where teenagers can openly discuss any issues they face, ranging from relationship challenges to mental health concerns.
Teen counseling may also incorporate sessions involving family members. Including parents or guardians in a teen’s therapy can be highly advantageous, helping them better understand their child and provide improved care and support.
Substance Abuse Treatment for Teens at Ridge RTC
Ridge RTC is a beneficial program for adolescents and teens in need of enhanced support, structure, and therapy. As a mental health residential program, we offer heightened supervision and minimal distractions. Ridge RTC focuses on providing therapeutic assistance within a nurturing atmosphere for teenagers who require more comprehensive care than what they might receive at home or in school settings. Give us a call today!