A Guide to Stopping Teenage Drug & Alcohol Addiction
If you experience drug or alcohol addiction as an adult, then it’s highly likely you began experimenting with these substances before you were 15 years of age. It’s estimated that around 80% of those who go on to abuse drugs and alcohol will begin experimentation with these same substances before they reach 15.
If you suspect your teenager is experimenting with substances, it’s vital to act now. Speedy intervention may well prevent a chain reaction that could ultimately lead to your teenager developing an addiction to drugs, alcohol or both.
Alcohol is by far the most common drug teens are likely to experiment with. This is followed by marijuana. In recent years, teens are also likely to experiment with either prescription drugs or the so-called “new legal highs” (NLHs). Although all of these NLHs were illegalised in the United Kingdom in 2017, teens may still access these dangerous drugs illegally.
Some parents will often inadvertently permit their teen’s addiction to fully develop because these parents are simply unaware of how to react to such a situation. It’s important to act quickly in seeking out treatment. Don’t become that parent who allows his or her teen to hit ‘rock bottom’.
Since teens are not fully developed from a physical or psychological standpoint, hitting rock bottom may bring with it many long-term and irreversible consequences. Teens are also more likely to overdose from their substance misuse, and this may lead to death. This is because teens will not have developed a sufficient tolerance for even moderate doses of drugs and alcohol.
How experimentation may develop into an addiction
Teen experimentation with drugs and alcohol is not uncommon. Most parents expect to witness the aftermath of their teen’s alcohol experimentation at some point or another. If your teen has experimented with alcohol and required medical assistance as a result, this could indicate he or she is in need of some form of education about the risks of alcohol abuse.
However, your teen’s occasional misadventures in this manner may not automatically mean professional addiction treatment is called for. It is also possible for your teen’s addiction to arise in a much subtler and non-dramatic manner. Typically, teen addiction will arise because your teen is unable to process negative emotions.
Drugs and alcohol may be viewed as a form of medication to allow your teen to avoid negative thoughts. This is particularly the case if your teen has experienced a traumatic incident such as sexual assault or prolonged bullying over many months or even years.
If your teen is self-medicating with substances to avoid the symptoms of depression or anxiety, then his or her addiction may arise unnoticed. If your teen is known to abuse substances in a socially isolated manner, then this could be a sign he or she is using these substances in order to self-medicate.
Many teens experiment with substances because of peer pressure. Under these circumstances, it’s unlikely addiction will arise.
If your teen’s use of substances directly or indirectly results in arrest or expulsion, then this could likewise serve as evidence that your teen’s experimentation may be evolving into an addiction.
Another tell-tail sign of teen addiction is your teen requires substances in order to function. Some substances, including alcohol, are physically addictive, whilst many are psychologically addictive. This means your teen will act unreasonably or even violently when he or she is unable to obtain his or her substance of choice.
Below, we outline a number of viable options you may pursue if your teen has developed an addiction to drugs, alcohol or another form of substance:
Teen addiction treatment at home
Receiving addiction treatment at your home has a number of advantages for your teen. Firstly, the home is where your teen will feel most at ease. Secondly, when your teen receives addiction treatment from home, there will be no other teens present who could become a source of bad influence or temptation. Thirdly, receiving treatment at home allows you and your family to conceal your teen’s addiction from the outside world.
Unfortunately, addiction is widely stigmatised, and if your local community become aware of your teen’s battle with addiction, this could serve to damage both the family’s standing in the community and your teen’s future prospects in gaining employment and the like.
The key disadvantage of receiving treatment at home is cost. Receiving treatment from a residential or outpatient treatment facility is typically cheaper since the cost of treatment is shared between many different clients.
Another disadvantage concerns the lack of peer learning. When your teen receives addiction treatment in a group setting, group therapy may be utilised. Group therapy is an incredibly powerful form of treatment for addiction because this form of therapy is able to harness peer learning.
Teen addiction treatment at a residential rehab clinic
Another viable option is for your teen to undergo addiction treatment at a residential rehab clinic. Here, your teen will live in the rehab clinic for around 28 days. This allows your teen to entirely focus his or her energy on overcoming the addiction. There are only a few residential rehab clinics in the UK that are able to accept under 18s. This is because rehabs for under-18s must be regulated and periodically assessed by OFSTED. Rehabs serving clients over the age of 18 are instead regulated by the Care Quality Commission (CQC).
If you wish to learn about rehabs in the UK that accept teen clients, contact ADT Healthcare today on 0800 138 0722. Residential rehab share many advantages of both home-based and outpatient treatment, whilst also overcoming many of these two treatment’s drawbacks. For instance, your teen will benefit from a high level of privacy whilst undergoing treatment from a residential rehab whilst also benefiting from peer learning and lower treatment costs.
How to find a suitable teen rehab in my local area?
By far the quickest way to locate suitable teen rehab is to contact our team today on 0800 138 0722. Researching your rehab options alone is time-consuming and there is a possibility that you could select a poorly suited treatment. We help you narrow down your search to 2-3 local rehabs. We are also able to help you select rehab treatment that may be far away from your home.
About the author:
Jon writes for ADT Healthcare and a number of other websites. Jon graduated with a degree in psychology in 1992. Jon has been in recovery for 19 years.