One of the scariest things for many teens is realizing that they have a problem with drug or alcohol abuse. However, sometimes you might not realize how serious your problem has become. If you have friends and family members who try to tell you that you have a teen substance abuse problem, it might mean that you need to stop and think about how often you use drugs and alcohol, as well as figure out the reasons why you use them. And when you decide that it is time to get clean, there some different ways you can get help.
Signs of a teen drinking or drug problem
If you are concerned about your use of alcohol and drugs, you can get an idea of whether or not you need help by carefully evaluating your behaviors. Here are some of the signs that you may be developing a substance abuse problem with alcohol, drugs or both:
- Drugs and/or alcohol become a way to relax or forget your problems.
- Withdrawal from and resentment towards family and friends.
- Declining grades.
- Spending a lot of time figuring out how to get drugs or alcohol.
- More money problems, since you need it to buy drugs and alcohol.
- Gradual withdrawal from activities you used to like, replacing them with drug or alcohol use.
- Different sleeping habits, or trouble falling asleep.
- Feeling sick or shaky if you do not get alcohol or drugs.
- Dramatic weight loss or gain.
- The need for an increasing amount of drugs or alcohol to feel the same effect.
What you can do to get help for teen alcohol or drug abuse
For most teens, kicking a drug or alcohol habit on their own does not work. It does not work for most adults either. Most of the time you will need help to overcome your drinking or drug problem. Quitting any substance abuse behavior is difficult – often the hardest thing you will ever do. But that does not mean it can’t be done. Talking to a trusted adult who you know will be supportive is a good first step. You should ask for help in contacting a professional substance abuse counselor or enrolling in a treatment program. This will get you started down the path to recovery with the beginnings of a support system.
Once you make the decision to seek help for a drug or alcohol problem, there are some things you can do to stay on the road to recovery, and help you along:
Tell your friends that you have made a decision to stop using alcohol or drugs.True friends will want to help you and will respect your decision. Plus, making them aware of your need for support will encourage them to be ready to help you. And telling others about your decision will help you stick to it.
Request that family and friends make themselves available. Find out which friends and family members are available for late night chats and encouraging lunches. Accept their help, and try to remember to share positive aspects of your recovery along with the hard times.
Avoid places and events where drugs and alcohol will be present. This is especially important at first. Find activities that do not involve drugs and alcohol, and involve yourself in interesting and creative projects that will keep you busy and away from the temptation.
Make a plan. Sometimes you will end up in a place where drugs and alcohol are in use. Make a plan beforehand as to whom you will call, and what you will do to get out of there. Making the decision to react a certain way is half the battle.
Do I Have Drug or Alcohol Problem? Main source material:
- “Dealing with Addiction,” KidsHealth.org. [Online.]