Is Substance Use Normal For Teens?
The therapists at Sundance Canyon Academy have helped countless teens battling substance abuse. We are writing on the topic today to help parents understand how to respond when their teens begin to use substances like drugs or alcohol. If your teen son struggles with substance use, call us today to find out if our residential treatment center could make a difference for your family.
While it’s not uncommon for teens to experiment with drugs and alcohol, substance use can still lead to harmful consequences. From impairing decision making to hindering brain development, teen substance use can be damaging for a variety of reasons. If teenage substance use is not addressed, it can lead to addiction later in the teen and adult years. Thankfully, early intervention can prevent further harm.
Reasons for teen substance use
Teens use substances for a variety of reasons. Some common reasons include:
During the teen years, kids shift their focus from home life to social life. It becomes more important for them to fit in with their peers and be included in social groups. If their peers are using substances like drugs and alcohol, your teen might be tempted to join them.
Using substances like drugs and alcohol can also help them feel less socially anxious and more open to making new friends. This makes it easier to keep using substances as they transition into adult years.
When teens start using substances in social situations like parties or when hanging out with their friends, they can start to associate substance use with fun. If the main times that they have fun and feel confident are when they are intoxicated, they can develop an addiction.
When teens are overwhelmed by negative emotions stemming from home life or school, substance use can help numb those emotions. Problems at home like divorce, abuse, illness, or death can cause a lot of emotional pain. So can stress, anxiety, and social rejection at school. If your teen has recently faced difficult life events, they might turn to substance use for relief.
Mental health problems
Substance use is related to numerous mental health problems including depression and anxiety. Unfortunately, these issues are often compounding and can make mental health problems and substance use even worse.
How to stop teenage substance use
If your teen is starting to use substances, you should address it quickly. Teenage substance use typically stems from underlying issues that could becomes worse over time.
Here are a few strategies that you can use to encourage your teenager to stop using substances:
– Talk to your child about your concern. By opening the dialogue, you give them a chance to share why they are using substances and open the door to solutions.
– Help your child find positive activities with adult supervision.
– Role model positive ways to cope with stress and anxiety.
– Set clear rules for your teen regarding substance use and hold to any consequences that you set.
– Set boundaries around which friends they can hang out with and where they can go to hang out.
– Get to know your child’s friends’ parents. If your child will be spending time at their house, it’s important that you feel comfortable with the rules for their household.
– Seek professional help. If your teen’s substance abuse is getting out of hand or is becoming an addiction, seek help from professional therapists who can help them overcome their substance use.
Contact us today to find out more about how our residential treatment center could help your teen son overcome his struggles with substance use.