Substance abuse is a very serious problem among the teen population today, and can be easily endorsed through common risk factors such as:
- Family history of substance abuse
- History of traumatic events
- Friends who abuse drugs
- Mental or behavioral health condition
- Low self-esteem
- Peer pressure
- Neglect from family or friends
- Academic failure
Seeking treatment immediately will prevent the teen from suffering addiction through adulthood and facing many critical health and social risks along the way.
When it’s known that a teen is using drugs or other substances it needs to be immediately directed towards an intervention with the teen. This conversation needs to happen sooner than later because the longer the wait the more damage and long-lasting effects on the teens health, school performance and personal relationships will take place.
When a teen seeks treatment it’s very important to acknowledge that this will disrupt the teen’s life. Many factors such as housing, school, transportation and social well-being will be affected and should be supported through enrollment in behavioral health counseling. Behavioral health counseling includes individual, family or group counseling and will help address the addiction itself along with building skills to avoid substance abuse, improving problem-solving skills and opening up better communication between the teen and their family and peers. Many adolescents who abuse substances have a history of physical, emotional, and/or sexual abuse. Support of family is very important during this time and can help navigate all necessary changes, and help the teen adjust well.
Substance abuse can be prevented in teens and one of the first steps is communication. Talking to a teen about drug abuse and having them share their views, discussing why they shouldn’t do drugs and how to avoid peer pressure are good starting points. Regular trips to see their primary care physician will also aid in helping a teen stay away from drugs. Education is important and it’s never too early to start.