Teen Substance Abuse

I Found Evidence of my Teen’s Substance Abuse. Now What do I do?

Parents who suspect that their teen is engaging in substance abuse often have their worst fears confirmed when they find evidence to corroborate their suspicions. It can be a confusing time for parents because they may not know what to do next.

Read on to learn about the options available with you. It is important to keep in mind that your actions will help improve the situation when they are proactive. Reactive actions indicate lack of planning and foresight.

A teen struggling with alcoholism and drug addiction needs support and guidance. A parent’s distress upon discovering about their ward’s addiction is understandable; however, any steps taken in that distressed state of mind may not be of any help.  

To begin with, do not share the information of your discovery with your ward. You will have to resist the impulse to confront the errant teen. Don’t do that. Instead, observe their behavior to ascertain if they are still engaged in substance abuse. You will have to look up symptoms of addiction related to the evidence found, and compare your teen’s behavior with it. Droopy eyelids, sloppy appearance, avoidance of eye contact, low energy levels, tardiness, runny nose, poor appetite, and a weak voice are symptoms of addiction.

If these symptoms are present, then you need to act in a way that the teen’s relationship with the addictive substance changes. He or she has to be manoeuvred away from it. Confronting the addict about the addiction won’t solve anything. The teen will either deny ownership of the discovered stash or stubbornly defend his actions.

The right thing to do is to plan an intervention; an informal sit down with the young adult, and let the teen know that he’s on the wrong path. You have to convince him to come back. You need to be prepared for strong resistance from your child, and you should have logical answers in place for his statements. You may have to make your love, presence, and assistance conditional to his cooperation in giving up substance abuse. It could mean withholding his pocket money, or even asking him to sign up for community service so that he stays away from temptation.

If an informal intervention does not yield the desired effects then you may have to schedule a formal intervention that will be headed by a trained recovery expert. The expert can point out the dangers of addiction and allay the teen’s fears about withdrawal and detoxification. Rehabilitation experts will educate family members about their roles in the addict’s recovery process. Any underlying family issues that may have contributed to the addiction will be addressed. If necessary, psychological counseling can be arranged.

If you’ve discovered that your teenaged ward is into substance abuse and are mulling the right course of action; then The Villa Treatment Center can help you chart out a planned response that will increase the chances of your child kicking the drug habit, and regaining sobriety.