According to the 2016 Monitoring the Future (MTF) survey, rates of teenage drug and alcohol use are on an encouraging decline. However, any substance use by adolescents is too much. The most recent results from the MTF survey reveal that past-year use of illicit drugs other than marijuana stood at 5.4% of 8th-graders, 9.8% of 10th-graders, and 14.3% of 12th-graders, the lowest level in the history of the survey in all three grades. While this is good news indeed, it is no reason to take our eye off the ball when it comes to drug treatment for this age group. As a parent, how do you know when it’s time to enroll your child in a teen treatment center?
You’ve noticed a significant change in their demeanor.
If you see a noticeable change in your child’s demeanor, such as excess exuberance from a shy child or withdrawn behavior from an outgoing one, this may be a sign of use, time for a talk with your child, and potential enrollment in a teen treatment center.
Skipping school or social engagements.
Skipping school or time with usual friends may be a sign of something going on. With the recent attention to student attendance and notifying parents of absences, you’re able to know when your child leaves school for the day. If they’re missing social obligations with their usual friends and opting instead to hang out regularly with different kids you’ve never met before, there may be something going on.
Missing alcohol, cigarettes, or prescriptions.
Monitor your alcohol, cigarettes and prescriptions. Teens who abuse alcohol and drugs oftentimes steal these substances from their parents. If you notice any of your substances have gone missing, they may be in your teen’s system.
Sudden weight loss or gain.
Certain drugs and alcohol cause significant weight loss or gain. Adderall and methamphetamines cause weight loss and alcohol and marijuana may lead to weight gain. Keep an eye on your child’s physical stature. If you sense something may be going on with your teenager, sit them down and talk with them about drugs and alcohol. Open the channels of communication and create a safe space for them to voice whatever may be taking place in their life. Teen treatment centers are designed specifically for teenagers with substance abuse issues and equipped with staff trained specifically to handle adolescents. There is nothing shameful in finding the help your child needs; you may save their life and years of future addiction. Resources “Monitoring the Future Survey: High School and Youth Trends” National Institute on Drug Abuse https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/drugfacts/monitoring-future-survey-high-school-youth-trends