Our teenage years are formative in so many ways; they help shape us, serving to define our interests more finely and determine our likes & dislikes. The young adult years are when we lay the groundwork for what’s to come.
It’s an invigorating and exploratory time in any person’s life.
It’s also a time of experimentation and increasing independence which is no doubt a cause for concern for all parents around the world.
This is a period in life when your son or daughter will encounter and perhaps even try drugs and/or alcohol for the first time and the statistics from the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) bear that out:
- By 12th grade, nearly half of teens, 46.6%, will have tried illicit drugs
- 43.7% will have tried marijuana by 12th grade
- Almost 2/3rds, 61.5%, reported trying alcohol by their senior year
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) found that 1/10th of all alcohol consumed in the United States is by people aged 12 to 20 years old. That’s 10%.
Whether it’s curiosity, peer pressure, coping with stress or another reason, experimentation doesn’t necessarily mean addiction or dependency. There are so many tough parts of parenting and knowing when to make that call about substances is among the hardest.
Fortunately, there are signs you can look for to know when things have gotten out of hand.
Signs Your Teen Is Addicted to Drugs or Alcohol
Addiction isn’t something that happens overnight, it may seem that way but in actuality, it builds over time presenting many symptoms along the way which can be broken down into physical and behavioral components.
Physical Signs of Addiction
- Bloodshot eyes or dilated pupils
- Injection marks
- Unexplained injuries
- Changes in skin color, pallor
- Sudden weight loss or gain
- Atypical or unusual body odors
- Issues with sleeping, getting either too much or too little
- Poor hygiene
- Looking generally unkempt and increasingly disregarding physical appearance
Behavioral Signs of Addiction
- Irritability and mood swings
- Lethargy and lack of motivation
- Withdrawing from family and friends
- Borrowing money
- Change in habits and more secretive about what they’re doing
- Loss of interest in activities they previously enjoyed
- Engaging in more dangerous, risky and possibly even criminal activity
- Missing curfew
- Neglecting responsibilities at school or work
If you’re noticing more and more of these signs and symptoms, it very well could be time for you to consider drug rehab for young adults. There’s no harm in learning more about how rehab can help and seeking information from experts on the next steps to take.
How a Drug Rehab for Young Adults Can Help Your Teen Find Recovery
Once you’ve identified a potential issue with drugs or alcohol, it’s time to seek solutions and among the best options available to you and your teen is rehab.
Because that’s the sole purpose of it; it’s dedicated and specialized treatment for addiction under the care and guidance of trained and licensed professionals.
Your inclination as a parent might be to scold your kid, get angry and confrontational about their drug or alcohol use. That’s just not helpful though because addiction is a disorder of the mind and that type of reaction could have the opposite effect and further cement their behavior.
It’s worth defining addiction here to understand another reason how rehab, in particular, can be incredibly helpful. According to NIDA, addiction is “a chronic, relapsing disorder characterized by compulsive drug seeking and use despite adverse consequences. It is considered a brain disorder, because it involves functional changes to brain circuits involved in reward, stress, and self-control”.
There’s more to undoing that than just a stern talking-to.
Rehab allows your teen to work through the issues that led them to substances in the first place and equips them with new tools and coping mechanisms to be able to overcome those same situations in the future, but in a healthy way.
If you’re worried about your child, give us a call at Footprints of Serenity and we can help you find the treatment option that’s right for them.