What to Do When Your Teen is Addicted to Drugs and Alcohol

Teenagers know—and those past their teens all too vividly remember—that the teen years can be filled with incredible excitement, pressures, and stress. During the teen years, teenagers encounter a host of challenges and life initiations, from an introduction to love (and heartbreak) to the tall order of discovering an identity and path in life. Sometimes, these stressors build into a pressure cooker, causing teenagers to seek escape in alcohol or drugs. Unfortunately, as teen drug or alcohol use increases, tolerance and brain chemistry changes can solidify experimentation into full-blown drug and alcohol addiction.

Teenagers and Alcohol Addiction

Teen drug and alcohol addiction have quickly become an epidemic—although not a new one. Currently, alcohol experimentation occurs during the “tween” years, with most tweens tasting their first alcoholic beverage at an average of 11-13 years old. Stunningly, by the time they are 14, 41 percent of teenagers have finished their first drink—making them 500 percent more likely to become develop an alcohol addiction. In total, three million teenagers each year are more than experimenting, meeting the clinical criteria for alcoholism. Additionally, thousands of teenagers each year die of alcohol-related vehicle accidents before they reach the age of 21.

Teenagers and Drug Addiction

The statistics on teenagers and drug addiction don’t create a much more encouraging picture. Drug experimentation among teens begins before they are even licensed to drive—on average, between the ages of 13 and 14. One out of every five teenagers—nearly four million each year—engages in prescription drug abuse, laying the foundation for opiate addiction.

Treatment for Teenagers With Drug or Alcohol Addictions

Behind the numbers are compelling reasons why teenagers are turning to drug and alcohol addiction. Only one out of three teenagers ever are approached by a parent to talk about drug or alcohol addiction and prevention. What parents might come to understand in the wake of such discussions is that teenagers are seeking emotional and psychological release through alcohol and drug use.

In fact, studies in the 21st century have already revealed reasons for teenage drug and alcohol addiction in their own words, with boredom, depression, peer pressure, social rejection, and academic pressures cited as the main reasons for use.

Because these reasons are largely emotional and psychological at heart, they require more than standard onsite detox to treat. Individualized therapy by counselors who relate to—instead of alienate—teenagers is an integral part of any teenage drug and alcohol rehabilitation program. Many teens can benefit from holistic inpatient addiction rehab that focuses on their entire person—mind, soul, and body—rather than simply pushing them through a generic agenda.

Additionally, individualized counseling sessions can provide teens with a private and safe forum in which to open up and explore the root causes of their addiction—rather than doing so in a less-than-confidential group setting. With natural detox and around approach, alcohol and drug rehab for teenagers will not only reintroduce them to sobriety but give them the tools for future success, peace, and self-esteem to tackle life’s adventures.

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