Teen substance abuse is not uncommon. However, it is still a serious issue that parents and society has to take a look at and take action. And as always, it starts in the home. Here are tips for parents on how they can address teen substance abuse in their children.
As a parent, finding out that your child is using illicit drugs or is abusing alcohol can be alarming, stressful, and scary. It can also make you feel helpless and desperate.
The Teenage Brain
As your teen’s brain grows, it becomes wired to focus on new experiences. It becomes curious about so many things, exploring their freedoms and testing limits. As it’s in a constant state of development, they may quickly adapt to addictive substances once they begin to try it. While the effects of the substances can be similar to how adults process them, teens have less developed decision-making skills in order to understand what’s happening. Simply put, they’re still immature. However, that’s what makes teen substance abuse more dangerous–they act on impulses and are driven by thrills and experimentation.
Teen Substance Abuse Gateway
Like adult brains, teens experience a surge of dopamine to make them feel happy and rewarded when they do something they like, such as sports, hanging out with friends, eating their favorite food and winning at a video game. However, when they try out drugs or alcohol, they get an unnatural surge of dopamine. As a result, they want to repeat this experience again and again, without realizing the consequences.
Usually, like decades before, teens these days use alcohol, marijuana, and tobacco. There are also those who try out meth, MDMA, and other substances.
As a parent, this can all be so scary still.
What do you do?
How Parents Can Address Teen Substance Abuse
1. It’s not a phase. Don’t just shrug off the situation and think they can outgrow their rebellious or experimental streak. What you may see are warning signs of substance abuse.
2. Come from a loving place. As parents, don’t overreact when your child finds out about their substance use. It’s natural to be angry and lose trust or be worried. However, you should make your teen feel like it’s alright to talk to you about whatever they’re going through.
3. Be ready to make a change. Adjust your home to your teen’s decision to be sober. It may not be easy for them and for you, but these adjustments are necessary. Make keeping your teen sober a priority in your home.
4. Don’t beat yourself up. Teen substance abuse doesn’t reflect on you being a bad parent. Despite your best efforts, it’s still up to your teen to make the decision to use or not.
5. Get help. You can’t do it alone. Your teen needs the help they need too. You can look for treatment centers for your teens and get yourself your own support system.
For help with your teen’s substance abuse, Bridges of Hope is here to provide safe and affordable addiction rehab treatment in a private, secure, and home-like environment. Contact 09175098826 to learn more.