There is no age restriction on when an individual might get addicted to drugs. It can happen later in life too. However, the likelihood of an individual getting addicted at a younger age is much higher.
The Signs of Drug Abuse
It may seem hard to believe, but teens may not always realise that they have an addiction problem. They might think that they are merely using drugs and can stop at any time. Their family may also not realise that their teen is addicted, attributing any signs to normal, if extreme, teenage behavior. So how can a teen know whether or not they have an addiction problem? The following are some signs to watch out for:
- Spending time with different friends
- Not caring about appearance
- Slipping grades
- Skipping school or missing classes
- Losing interest in activities
- Changes in sleeping or eating habits
- Problems with family members or friends
If the teen suspects that they are developing an addiction, then they should ask for help immediately.
Where to Find Help
It is recommended that most teens approach their parents for help. If the teen has a good relationship with their parents, then they should definitely be their first point of contact. If it is not possible for the teen to ask their parents for help, for whatever reason, then they should find another adult they trust to talk to. This could be a close family friend, a teacher or coach.
Going to their doctor should be the next step. It is important for the teen to check with their parents whether their doctor is comfortable with discussing or treating drug abuse. Not all doctors have the required experience and the teen should find a medical professional who does.
Some teens may want to approach their doctor without talking to their parents, because they are concerned about their parents’ reaction. But they may also be afraid that the doctor will tell their parents, and this may be a barrier to the teen approaching their doctor for help in the first place.
If a teen is thinking of approaching their doctor to talk about drug abuse, then they can rest assured that privacy laws prevent the doctor from telling the teen’s parents what was discussed between them, unless the teen signs a permission form.. In fact, doctors cannot even tell law enforcement about the teen’s drug use. The exception here is if the doctor believes that the teen is in danger of hurting themselves or others.
The teen should seek advice from their parents and doctor about whether or not to enter a treatment program. It is not recommended that the teen try to quit drugs on their own. Stopping drug use is a difficult thing to do, and takes a lot of hard work and commitment. There is also the danger of relapse, without medical guidance. However, treatment works, and the teen can definitely recover.
What kind of treatment can the teen expect? Most treatment programs can be tailored to the individual teen’s needs. There are treatment centers which offer outpatient treatment programs, which means the teen can still attend school part time. Or the teen may require residential treatment. Along with treatment, support groups like Alcoholics Anonymous or Narcotics Anonymous can go a long way towards getting the teen back to normal life.
Sustain Recovery provides a safe, structured environment for adolescents to learn about living substance free. To learn more about the elements of transitioning to sober living, contact us about our programs and how it can help you.