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Alcohol and Drug Abuse: 5 Ways Parents Can Help Their Teenagers!

Alcohol and Drug Abuse: 5 Ways Parents Can Help Their Teenagers!

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Alcohol and drug abuse can have a major impact on the lives of individuals, and for those in their teenage years, consuming these substances can lead to a wide range of short- and long-term problems.

As the parent of a teen, it may not be possible to keep your child shielded away from these substances. Nevertheless, you can take some steps to ensure your teen doesn’t fall trap to these evils!

Alcohol and Drug Abuse: 5 Ways Parents Can Help Their Teenagers!

Read on to know how you can prevent your teen from substance abuse or help him overcome addiction.

Understand the Reasons for Substance Abuse

Adolescents start consuming alcohol and drugs due to a number of reasons. Knowing and understanding them will help you take better control of the situation, and also prevent your teen from falling into the trap in the first place.

One of the main reasons teens start consuming alcohol and/or drugs is because adolescence is a developmental stage and teens are more than eager to take risks, experiment, and test boundaries during this period. Here are some other reasons why teens take to alcohol and drugs:

  • Seeing a lot of people around them – adults and other teens – consume alcohol and drugs can lead them to believe that it’s okay to do so.
  • Peer pressure can cause teens to succumb. In addition to this, people who abuse alcohol and drugs claim to be experts on these substances, assuring others that the risks of consuming them are minimal.
  • Movies and TV shows portray alcohol and drugs in a positive light.
  • Alcohol and drugs work quickly, providing instant gratification. Since the initial effects feel good, teens start seeing these substances as shortcuts to happiness.
  • Teenagers who are unhappy or frustrated because of troubles at home or at school find consuming alcohol and drugs to be a quick escape from reality.
  • Adolescents who get bored easily or have trouble keeping themselves occupied, or those who crave excitement find that alcohol and drugs fill a void in their lives, also giving them something to do. Moreover, consuming these substances provides a common ground for interacting with other adolescents and adults who abuse these substances.
  • Alcohol and drugs can loosen inhibitions and alleviate social anxiety. As such, these substances appeal to teenagers who are shy or lack confidence, emboldening them to do things that they might not do otherwise.

Note that factors like success in school performance, creating strong bonds with the family, school, and religious organizations, and parental monitoring can reduce the potential for alcohol and drug abuse. On the other hand, chaotic home environments, ineffective parenting, approval of substance abuse behaviors in the family, inappropriately shy or aggressive behavior, inadequate social coping skills, and poor performance in school are risk factors and can increase the potential for abuse.

Create the Right Environment

Keeping your teen away from addictive substances like alcohol and drugs starts with creating the right environment at home. While being a good role model by abstaining from these vices yourself is a great way to start, do empower your teen by strengthening family bonds- consider having dinner with the whole family each day, shopping together, going out on family trips, taking time out of your schedule to attend important school and other events, etc.

Also take an active interest in your teen’s life and try to be more involved. This doesn’t mean you press for information; instead, try to find common ground and let conversations flow freely. If your teen doesn’t want to talk, just spend time with him in the same space doing your own thing- you might get him to talk about something or the other that way!

Identify the Signs

Individuals who abuse alcohol and drugs often try to conceal symptoms. However, you can spot plenty of warning signs if you pay attention. Here are some of them:

  • Personal Appearance: Poor hygiene, deterioration of physical appearance, messy, red, flushed cheeks, and burns or soot marks on lips and fingers.
  • Physical Changes: Bloodshot eyes, sudden change in weight, tremors, slurred speech, sudden appetite, etc.
  • Behavior: Secretive behavior like locking the door or talking in hushed tones on the phone, change in friends, unexplained cash flow problems, mood changes, loss of interest in schoolwork and drop in attendance, etc.

Confront Problems Promptly

Teenagers that smoke, drink alcohol, or consume drugs are more likely to become addicted to these substances by the time they turn 20. Remember that initial consumption of these harmful substances may be a voluntary decision, but as addiction takes control, giving up can be difficult. So act immediately if you suspect that your teen is abusing alcohol or drugs or if you find evidence for the same.

Don’t jump to conclusions; stay calm and talk to your teen about your concerns. If your teen denies abusing alcohol or drugs, you may want to schedule an online appointment for a drug test to make sure.

If your teen tests positive or if he accepts consuming alcohol or drugs, refrain from getting angry or being judgmental. Explain the consequences of abusing these substances and offer your support to get your teen out of this situation as soon as you can.

  • Don’t self-blame or use emotional appeals- this will only cause guilt and further compel your teen to consume alcohol or drugs.
  • Do not lecture your teen- listen to his point of views and discuss the impact of drugs on his health, appearance, and life.
  • Talk about the issue without shame, but don’t try to cover up their mistakes or shield them from the consequences.


Don’t Be Afraid to Say ‘No’

Fearing a negative reaction from your child can keep you from doing what’s right. Quit worrying about being the bad parent, and take a tough stand against the consumption of alcohol and drugs. Draw the line, setting clear and realistic expectations for your teen’s behavior. Do establish consequences for breaking rules and be sure to enforce them consistently. Get your teen to understand how abusing alcohol and drugs can affect his life negatively. Set a good example first, and use the information provided here to prevent your teenager from substance abuse.

Teens, Alcohol, and Fetal Alcohol Syndrome

Teens, Alcohol, and Fetal Alcohol Syndrome

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Health care centers have recognized the importance of avoiding alcohol while pregnant for years. However, underage drinking poses a significant risk to teenage mothers with teenage depression. When a teen begins to experiment with alcohol, he or she may be more likely to experience many different problems, which includes teen pregnancy. Furthermore, the mental health development of teenagers has yet to reach the cognitive, consequential understanding of actions as in adults. A thorough understanding of teenage depression and teenage alcohol abuse facts can help curb this correlation and incidence of teen pregnancy, teen alcoholism and teen fetal alcohol syndrome.

Teens, Alcohol, and Fetal Alcohol Syndrome

Teenage Alcohol Abuse Facts

Twenty-four percent of adolescents drank alcohol within the past month, and 15 percent of adolescents engaged in binge drinking, as indicated in the 2012 National Survey on Drug Use and Health. However, the 2013 Youth Risk Behavior Survey found 35 percent of adolescents drank alcohol, 21 percent engaged in binge drinking, 10 percent operated a vehicle after drinking and 22 percent of adolescents had ridden with an intoxicated driver. Immediately, this high prevalence of alcohol abuse in teenagers represents risks to teenagers. More than 10 percent of all alcohol in the US is consumed by US teenagers, asserts the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). Underage drinking has been linked to the following problems:

  • School problems, such as failure to maintain homework responsibilities, attendance and slump in grades
  • Social problems
  • Fighting
  • Legal problems
  • Inability to control impulses, such as engaging in risky sexual behavior
  • Unplanned teen pregnancy
  • Difficulty in recalling events and general memory problems
  • Additional substance abuse
  • Problems with cognitive development
  • Suicidal ideation
  • Alcohol poisoning and death
  • Teen depression and other mental health disorders
  • Unstable moods
  • Illnesses, including hangover, excessive vomiting, sleep deprivation, hypotension and dehydration

For teenagers under 15 years old, engaging in binge drinking, defined as drinking more than approximately five drinks in one sitting, the lifetime risk for becoming dependent on alcohol increases by 500 percent.

Teenage Pregnancy

In 2010, more than 600,000 teenagers became pregnant. 367,700 of these pregnancies resulted in births. In 2014, 6.3 percent of births in the U.S. were to teenagers, and 13.9 percent of all U.S. births outside of marriage were to teenage mothers. According to the Mayo Clinic, some states consider pregnant teens to be emancipated and legally accountable. This level of independence could account for the increase in risky behaviors while pregnant as parental input becomes lost.

A new study, “Substance Use and Teen Pregnancy in the US: Evidence From the NSDUH 2002-2012,” found 33 percent of pregnant teens between the ages of 12 and 14 admitted to using alcohol or illegal drugs within the past month. Moreover, the study’s findings suggest the rate of substance abuse may actually increase when pregnant, and pregnancy rates increase as substance abuse rates increase as well.

Fetal Alcohol Syndrome

When an expectant mother drinks alcohol, regardless of the quantity, it poses developmental risks to the fetus. Fetal alcohol syndrome has varying degrees of severity, but it tends to cause brain damage and hinder growth. Sadly, the effects of fetal alcohol syndrome are irreversible, and the only course of treatment is to try to reduce additional learning difficulties and abnormalities following birth. The Mayo Clinic explains the physical defects of fetal alcohol syndrome include the following:

  • Wide-set eyes
  • Thin upper lip
  • Smooth skin between the upper lip and nose
  • Deformities of appendages, joints and fingers
  • Vision problems
  • Hearing difficulties
  • Small cranial size or a small head and brain
  • Cardiovascular problems
  • Organ failure
  • Bone density loss

Brain Defects of Fetal Alcohol Syndrome

  • Lack of coordination
  • Cognitive issues
  • Poor memory and recognition
  • Attention problems, such as ADHD
  • Inability to understand consequences of actions
  • Lack of judgement
  • Unstable moods
  • Additional mental health problems

Statistically, fetal alcohol syndrome affects 1 percent of all live births across the U.S. However, the statistics for teenage birth rates with fetal alcohol syndrome may be much higher due to the number of teenage mothers who refuse to provide healthcare records and information to authoritative departments.

Curbing the Trend

Since the direct connection between alcohol abuse and teen pregnancy exists, the incidence of fetal alcohol syndrome increases. The key to reducing this disturbing trend is addressing the availability of alcohol, drugs and other pseudo-legal substances, such as the synthetic drugs, to teens. However, these substances will always be present to teenagers, especially if parents do not provide adequate supervision of teenagers when alcohol is in the home. The incidence of teen depression can occur in any cohort of adolescents, the risk factors for developing depression include the following:

  • Parents with substance abuse problems
  • Financial problems at home
  • Physical, verbal and sexual abuse
  • Death in the immediate family
  • Death of peers
  • Peer pressure

Furthermore, teenagers with an existing mental health condition need to obtain treatment in a Florida mental health facility. Teenage depression should be treated with medications, psychotherapy, and support systems, depending on the specific treatment plan. In turn, this will reduce the chances of engaging in inappropriate, risky behaviors. Teenagers have the option of obtaining treatment in a center for alcohol detox Florida. The Office of the Surgeon General and the National Institute of Health have advised healthcare providers and parents to monitor their teenage children for behaviors alluding to alcohol use, such as those mentioned within the consequences of underage drinking section.

By taking a proactive approach to teenage mental health and problematic behaviors, the incidence of teenage drug and alcohol abuse, fetal alcohol syndrome, and resulting teen pregnancy can be reduced.