In June 2012, Americans from coast to coast were shocked by a story about a vicious attack launched against a homeless man alongside a Miami highway. The perpetrator of this crime chewed off most of his victim’s face, and when ordered by police to stop his assault, he only growled and bared his teeth, forcing the officers to shoot him to death in order to save the other man’s life. Eventually, reports leaked claiming that the so-called “Causeway Cannibal,” identified as 31-year-old Rudy Eugene, was under the influence of a designer drug known as bath salts at the time of his psychotic episode.
Parents of teens today may have more to worry about than finding a marijuana joint in their son or daughter’s back pocket. The U.S. prescription drug epidemic is filtering down to young adults, with recent figures showing as many as 10 percent of adolescents using prescription drugs recreationally.
According to a recent iTech Post article, kids who abuse prescription drugs are at a higher risk of other substance abuse issues and are more apt to engage in additional risky behaviors. A study originating from the University of Florida, Gainesville showed that teens who abuse prescription medications were 17 times more likely to use steroids than their peers. They were also 14 times more likely to use heroin and 11 times more likely to smoke pot.
Alcohol abuse and alcoholism, known collectively as alcohol use disorders or AUD, are potential consequences of excessive consumption of beer, wine, malt liquor, distilled liquor or a variety of other alcoholic beverages, often requiring professional treatment. For a variety of reasons, the vast majority of the scientific studies used to establish the definitions for alcohol use disorders were performed on adult population groups. According to a study review published in 2010 in Pediatrics, the adult standards for both alcohol abuse and alcohol dependence differ significantly from appropriate standards for teenagers.
Slang is difficult to keep up with, especially with the instant connectivity provided by the Internet. Slang terms are widely employed by teens so they can discuss drugs in front of teachers or parents without attracting suspicion. Then there are many unfamiliar terms that have harmless meanings. Staying on top of trends and drug nicknames is extremely useful if you think your teen may be using drugs or has been using terminology you don’t understand. Learning a little about teen slang can also help you to differentiate between ordinary communications and terms that could relate to drugs.
How The Right Step Can Help You Help a Teen Overcome Addiction
Not long ago on his television program, Dr. Phil McGraw – yes, THAT Dr. Phil – arranged an intervention on a teen named Brandon in the hope that he could help Brandon’s parents help their son to change his life.
If you’re reading this, you know what kind of change they were talking about. Brandon was addicted to drugs, and the good doctor arranged probably the most difficult of “family reunions” to bring the problem into focus.
The show chronicling the intervention and the aftermath was a moving, gut-wrenching roller-coaster ride, as Brandon continued (and continues) his battle to become and remain sober. Afterward Dr. Phil posted on his website a recap of the experience, which included THE question that is top-of-mind for literally thousands of parents today:
What should we do when we suspect our children of drug or alcohol abuse?
Over the holidays surround yourself with a community that understands.
Most people describe the holidays with words, for example, such as “family,” “fun,” and “frolic” It’s expected that we look forward to the happy times between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day.
For the person with a history of alcohol or drug issues, however, the very holidays many people celebrate can be anything but festive. Addicted people and their loved ones need to be especially on guard for the prospect of relapse, according to a story on the website ezinearticles.com.
Here are some highlights from the article:
Everywhere they look—television, billboards, magazines, the Internet, and the radio—adolescents see messages about alcohol, sex, drugs. According to The Journal of Adolescent Health, “those brands with higher youth-to-adult viewership ratios were significantly more likely to have a higher percentage of occurrences with addiction.” That means the things adolescents see in their everyday lives may negatively affect their behavior. More than one third of American teenagers are turning to alcohol or drugs: 32 percent saying they drink, 19 percent saying they use drugs, and 15 percent saying they do both. That can leave a parent feeling hopeless and out of control. So what can parents do to help?
Become a careful observer of red flags
The first step to any recovery is to become a careful observer of adolescents’ behavior, particularly the small details that make up their lives: changes in friends, sleep patterns, grades, moods, judgement, personality. Be careful not to jump to conclusions because adolescents’ addiction chemically alters their brains, so they are not always ready to hear what parents have to say. Create a nurturing home environment so teens will still receive the love and support they need and feel their parents are trustworthy. This is the time to listen to them and make a sincere effort to hear what they are going through and how it got to this point.
For adolescents, living a normal life is important. When a teen is taking the steps toward alcohol and drug addiction recovery, maintaining a structured, sober lifestyle plays a key role. When adolescents are addicted to alcohol or drugs, it’s important that they learn how to live fulfilling lives that include sobriety. Breaking damaging habits and discovering a happy new life can be obtainable during and long-after outpatient rehab!
Outpatient rehab is no easy task. It requires dedication, structure, support, and a sense of confidence. Being at home during recovery treatment allows adolescents to be surrounded by family and, the more parents are involved, the greater the recovery success rate. Outpatient rehab also encourages support from the community and trusted friends. Outpatient rehab can focus on various areas of adolescents’ lives, in addition to relationships with their parents.
Dr. Casey Green has worked with adolescent addiction recovery for six years and has helped The Right Step achieve its goals of reaching out to young teens who are battling drug and alcohol addiction and lead them to a safe and healthy recovery.
“We want to build upon the strengths (personal, family, community) that adolescents bring to treatment in order to equip them with the skills necessary to pursue lifelong sobriety,” explains Dr. Green. “Individually, we work with clients and their families to accurately identify what stage of change they are currently in (transtheoretical model, Prochaska), stabilize them at that stage, and then do what is necessary to move them to the next stage of change.
Take The Right Step in Adolescent Addiction Rehab
For a parent, recognizing flags that your teen is abusing drugs or alcohol is not a pleasant task and many parents may feel like their child doesn’t have a problem. However, a study found that alcohol and drug use is common among American teens and more than 15% of them meet the criteria for substance abuse. Between the ages of 13 and 18, more than 78% of the oldest teens had consumed alcohol, about 47% consumed at least 12 drinks a year, and about 15% met the criteria for alcohol abuse. Source
Three signs that can point to an alcohol addiction or drug addiction:
1. Secretive behavior, especially from teens who recently were previously open to parental figures and adults. If they are afraid of disapproval, they will go to great lengths to keep their secret under wraps. Trouble with the law, lying, stealing, shoplifting, or encounters with the police are signs.