It is important for parents to realize that the likelihood that their teenager will be exposed to drugs and alcohol is very high, and there is a good chance that their teenager will try drugs and alcohol. Most parents don’t expect that their teens will use drugs or alcohol, and many parents ignore the warning signs of teenage drug and alcohol abuse. While most teens probably see their drug use as a casual way to have fun, there are negative effects that are a result of this use and abuse of alcohol and other drugs, and parents need to be aware of these risks.
One of the consequences of teen drug and alcohol abuse is addiction. Most teens don’t start using drugs expecting to develop a substance abuse problem, and they don’t think that they will become addicted, and simply use drug and alcohol to have a good time. However, the reality of addiction to drugs and alcohol can result in some pretty undesirable consequences, such as loss of friendships, health problems, behavioral problems, alienation of family, and a loss of interest in sports, academics, hobbies, etc.
Substance abuse and addiction can greatly alter behavior, and a new preoccupation with drugs can crowd out activities that were previously important, like sports or academics. Abuse of drugs and alcohol can also change friendships, as teens begin to move away from old friends who don’t approve of their drug use and begin to associate with fellow drug users who will encourage and support one other’s drug use. Most teens who are addicted won’t see a problem with their behavior or their drug use. Drugs make them feel good, and are a way to relieve the stress of school, problems at home, disagreements with friends, etc.
Because it is unlikely that teens will want to stop using drugs, it is important for friends and parents to look for the signs of drug use in their loved ones. The sooner you can recognize that your child or your friend is abusing alcohol or other drugs, the sooner you can seek help. If you notice changes in behavior, changes in friends, lying about after school or weekend activities, changes in mood, or depression your teen might have a problem with substance abuse.
If you or someone you care about has a drug problem, talk to them about it and encourage them to get help. As parents, you are probably the last people that your teen wants to ask for help, but it is important to let your teen know that you support them and want to help them. If you think that your teen has a substance abuse problem, talk to them about it and encourage them to get help. The sooner your teen gets help, the more likely they are to be successful in their recovery from drug and alcohol abuse.