Addiction in Adolescents
We are all fearful of our loved ones falling into the trap of addiction. The problem of adolescent drug and/or alcohol addiction is not restricted or relevant to your position in the community, where you live,
how much money you have or how much you love your children. Addiction can strike any family, anywhere anytime. Most important is realizing that the disease of addiction
is not caused by you or any adult
in your household. As is said in recovery, “addiction is doing pushups in the parking lot, waiting for your return. One of the things we can do as parents is recognizing some of the signs and occurrences in our
children and getting them help early. Early recognition and response can mean the difference between life and death, as well as “catching and treating” a habit before it grows to the point of incurable.
Some thoughts include:
-this is the newly available drug that is offered as a “recreational” substance. While some states offer this drug thought retail stores,
please never forget that Marijuana
is a drug! Daily consumption while the adolescent brain is still developing (until age 25) can create a general
lethargy. Marijuana causes a lack of interest in sports, school, and school work. If you notice that your child is becoming less interested in life in
general, you might have a problem developing. Almost all hard drug addicts under 25 began with Marijuana daily usage, destroyed their opportunities
in high school and are now undereducated, shameful, guilty, and in some cases, hopeless.
– this is another drug that most people think is harmless. Most junior and senior high students have experimented with alcohol by the time
they graduate. Alcohol is a drug as well. When a child comes home at night and sees the adults drinking, the impression the child takes away is that it
is “okay” to drink. Drinking under the age of about 24 can cause a reduction or alteration in brain development
. Drinking is NOT OKAY daily for anyone.
The message to our children should be this is an adult treat, and that we are drinking to “relax” as an adult.
– Nicotine is a stimulant drug and I can say with a great deal of certainty that just about every addict smokes cigarettes, and every hard drug
addict taking heroin, fentanyl,
cocaine or methamphetamine smokes daily. If you suspect a loved one, smoking will definitely be present in the substance
abuser. Nicotine is very addictive and once a patient is in the use cycle, quitting is very difficult.
Friends-all of my patients claim that their friends and associates are all substance abusers and that the peer group is a huge trigger. If a loved one starts to
have new friends coming around, there is more than likely something going on.
Secrets- secrets create anxiety, anxiety is treated with substances, and substance use can become an addiction. Secrets can be within the family or kept by
adolescents from the parents. Many of these secrets can be relieved by talking, but many of them are secrets held by high school students from their parents.
In the USA a substance nation exists with total separation from parents, school teachers or adults. There are DRUGS in school, no matter what your child tells you.
Kent I Phillips, MS, MSAC, APA, MASTER ADDICTION SPECIALIST