What Can I Do if I Think My Teen Is Becoming Addicted to Drugs or Alcohol?

Your teenager has been acting strangely lately and you’ve seen some things that caused you concern. You conclude that your son or daughter may deal with an addiction. But, you’re at a loss and want to know what you can do if you think your teen is addicted to drugs or alcohol.

If it turns out to be an addiction problem, there are ways that you can handle it. First, however, it’s important to know if they really are having a drug or alcohol problem. Here, we’ll look at the signs of addiction in teens, when you should intervene with a rehab program, and how to handle their reactions to treatment.

Signs your teen may be addicted to drugs or alcohol

Teens, nowadays, can act different and be perfectly normal. It’s common to rebel in certain situations and dress in a way that makes them happy, even if you’re not too impressed with their taste. However, when addiction is added to the mix, there are a few signs that could you look for to alert you that there’s more going on with your teenager than just normal teenage attitude. Some things that could cause concern are:

  • Persistent bloodshot eyes
  • Withdrawn Behavior
  • Increased trouble at school that wasn’t there before

Addictions can cause physical signs, like bloodshot eyes. There are many reasons eyes get bloodshot, but if it combines with some other signs, drugs may just be the number one cause. Teens tend to withdraw to themselves, skip school or instigate fights with other kids if they’re using drugs or alcohol. Drastic changes in the appearance or their overall behavior point to some kind of problem that needs checking into.

When should you intervene with treatment for drugs or alcohol?

Sometimes their drug or alcohol use is minor, and it hasn’t taken hold of them yet. If you find that this is where your teen is at, you can help stop it by talking with them to understand whatever is going on. Figure out what problem they’re facing that sent them to the drug or alcohol for relief and find out how you can redirect them to something more healthy.

More often than not, however, their usage is more severe and a simple talk with you won’t help much, it may just make matters worse for them. If they have anger issues, anxiety problems, or are only a shell of what they used to be, then consider intervening and getting them into a rehab program to overcome their addiction. These centers specialize in helping those with customized treatments prescribed for their situations to deal with whatever problem they’re facing.

How to handle your teen’s reaction

Addictions usually have a tight grip on the person dealing with it. Don’t get surprised if they lash out in anger. If you decide to talk to them about getting into rehab, check with a center first, for advice on how to best accomplish that. Depending on the situation, they may ask you to have other people along for moral support or just to ensure safety, should something go wrong. It’s also important that you don’t blame them for what’s happened. Addictions occur because the person felt that drugs or alcohol were a better comfort to them than anything else. Blaming them will only make them feel worse and drive them to the object of their addiction.

Explain to them why treatment is necessary for their situation. Make sure they know that you’re worried and care about them no matter what. Point out what evidence you’ve seen that shows they have an addiction and what could happen if they don’t get help for the problem. Walk them through what will go on in the rehab program and what they can expect. Prepare them ahead of time so they’re not thrown into a situation they’re weren’t expecting. The more information they have before going in, the better. That way they won’t be tempted to try and leave soon after they got there.

It’s bad enough when an adult is facing an addiction. It’s even harder when your teenager is dealing with a drug or alcohol problem. Look for the signs to see if your teen may be addicted and figure out if their situation warrants a treatment program. If rehab turns out the be the best answer then talk to them about what to expect in rehab so they’re plenty prepared. For more information or advice on how to talk to your teen about addiction, call us at 800-737-0933. We’ll be glad to help you out.