Guide to Dealing with Teenage Substance Abuse
Teenagers experiment with drugs and alcohol. It’s a common and almost unavoidable thing, but it doesn’t have to be dangerous or riddled with the problems that arise from substance abuse. Teens are always going to drink a bit and smoke some marijuana, but with access to all kinds of pills and other ways to get intoxicated, substance abuse has become more common in general and for teens in specific.
When you’re a teenager, you are full of hormones and emotions. This is the time mental illness pops up. It is the time that teenagers come into sexual maturity. There is a lot going on. So, if your teen is starting to do drugs and drink alcohol, below is a guide to dealing with adolescent substance abuse.
Get Ahead of It
One of the most important things to do as a parent is to talk to your teens. You should have a conversation before they enter high school about drugs, alcohol, addiction, and mental health. If you are honest about why people use drugs, what it does for them, and how it harms them, you will end up with a much more reasonable teenager. It’s pivotal to be honest that it’s not the chemical that makes them bad, it’s how they are used.
You can tell them it’s okay to safely try drinking or smoking marijuana, but that the quantity and frequency matters. You should also be clear about what they should wait to try until they’re older. Psychedelics fall into this category. They aren’t always dangerous, but if you take psychedelic drugs too early it will interfere with brain development. When you have a teen, talk to them to get ahead of substance abuse.
Nip It in the Bud
If your teen has already begun abusing substances to an alarming degree, it’s a good idea to nip it in the bud right away. You can tell if there is a problem arising. Don’t wait until it’s out of control. First, you should find out what they are using. Get to the bottom of it. Whatever they are using, there is typically a treatment for it. There are even marijuana treatments for teens using cannabis products with high THC volume.
You can get them involved in therapy and other forms of teen counseling. You can switch schools. There are plenty of things you can do, and you don’t need to be mean, but if you see the writing on the wall when it comes to substance abuse it just may save their lives to stop it right away.
Limit Their Prescriptions
If your teenager was injured in a sport or an accident, they may be prescribed painkillers. The variety and strength of opioid synthetics have become so powerful. They are one of the most commonly abused drugs. When your teen was prescribed a painkiller, you should hold onto it.
Don’t just limit the prescription to what the doctor said—they are often paid to prescribe drugs—allow them to take the painkiller when they really need it. The opioid epidemic has happened for a reason. These drugs are incredibly addictive, and anyone can become dependent upon them.
Understand How to Motivate Them
The best way to deal with teen substance abuse is to motivate them to do otherwise. You should have an idea what your teenager is doing. With this knowledge, set boundaries. Establish rules and consequences that occur when you break those rules. Reward them for good grades and other achievements. You should also set a good example. If you are drinking all the time, the teenager won’t listen to you. There are plenty of ways to motivate a teenager to spend less time abusing substances and more time achieving. If you set up this balance, it could prevent further problems.
Teens have always abused substances. Between their hormones, extreme emotions, and pressure of social life in school, a lot of kids this age want to escape. They want to experiment. They want to discover things about themselves and others. All this is well and good, but if the experimentation veers into abuse the parent needs to step in. They might not need to go to rehab, but interfering could end up being the reason they don’t ever need to go to rehab.