Recent statistics indicate that 55% of kids in the United States have drank alcohol before they’ve even reached their 20th birthday. Worse yet, half of high school seniors said they’ve had one or more drinks in the last 30 days alone. Couple this with the fact that more than five million high schoolers admit to binge drinking at least once every month and we have some seriously troubling data on our hands.
So what can we do about it?
As a parent, it’s important to take note of any changes in your teen’s behavior that could potentially be warning signs of a serious drug or alcohol abuse problem. You could run into some resistance, though, if your child feels you’re snooping or getting too involved with their personal lives. Teenagers need a certain amount of distance from their parents in order to help develop their personalities as well as their own sense of identity. Still, there are a few key signals that are typically hard to miss when it comes to teen drug and alcohol abuse.
What to Look For
It can be incredibly hard to read teens because they often like to keep a distance between themselves and parents and other family members. But aggressiveness and irritability can be two telltale signs that they might be harboring secret habits — ones that, left unchecked, can have disastrous (and even deadly) consequences. The symptoms of drug addiction and prolonged teen alcohol abuse can be any of the following and more:
- Lack of motivation for school or extracurricular activities
- Unusual sleeping habits
- Disheveled personal appearance
- Declining personal hygiene
- General behavioral changes or mood swings
What You Can Do
Finding a small bag of marijuana in your child’s room shouldn’t automatically necessitate he or she complete a month-long stint in a teen rehab clinic. Drug rehab for teenagers is a serious matter and should be pursued with serious intent, but before that should be even considered as an option, it’s on you, as parents, to sit down with your child and clear the air. Often, teens turn to drugs and alcohol specifically because they feel alienated from their families. Opening the lines of communication back up can help teens understand the full scope of their actions before they devolve into full-fledged addiction.
Drug Rehab for Teenagers
Not every teen can be helped with a few conversations. In certain situations, the best option is to have your child complete a drug rehab program that focuses on counseling, group therapy and other personalized activities. Even more importantly, this rehabilitation should take place close to home and in the same community where the teen lives, as clinical child psychologist Nicki Bush told Time magazine in 2011.
The bottom line is that help is always available. Sometimes, highly specialized drug rehab for teenagers is the answer, and sometimes it’s simply not. No matter the circumstances, the most important thing you can do for your children is to get them help when they truly need it — and before it’s too late to do anything at all. More can be found here: www.newportacademy.com