Overcoming Addiction: 5 Ways to Help Your Troubled Teens


Drug and alcohol addiction is a growing problem in the United States for pre-teens and teenagers. With an increased technology presence and less control over daily stimuli, the world is full of temptations and chances to experiment. Fortunately, there are multiple ways to help children cope with addiction or avoid it altogether.

1. Know that a Problem Exists

A recent government survey reveals that one out of every ten kids between twelve and seventeen years old uses drugs. Curiosity, peer pressure, emotional stress, and escape are all common motivations for experimenting with drugs. If this information is ignored in light of a more positive fantasy, kids will continue to become addicted.

2. Know the Types of Drugs

Alcohol and tobacco are often the drugs mentioned in addiction conversations. Added to that list are: anabolic steroids, bath salts, cocaine, cough and cold medicines, heroin, inhalants, marijuana, MDMA (Molly/Ecstasy), Methamphetamine, Prescription Drugs (Depressants/ Stimulants/ Pain meds), Salvia, and Spice (K2). Education about the effects of each type of drug makes it possible to anticipate potential availability and recognize symptoms.

3. Know the Signs

One symptom or combination thereof does not mean that a child is using drugs. Different factors may cause the following. However, all have been associated with drug use. Signs include poor school performance, bloodshot eyes, loss of enthusiasm in hobbies, poor personal care, changes in personal appearance, and changes in eating or sleep schedules, unusual behavior, and excessive rule breaking. In addition to understanding symptoms, the best thing an adult can do to determine whether an adolescent is using drugs is to ask.

4. Ask Questions

Asking directly if a child is using drugs is the best way to start a conversation. Whether the adolescent chooses to answer truthfully or not, they will understand that the adult cares enough and pays enough attention to ask the question. Being consistent about discussing drugs and alcohol encourages open communication and trust.

5. Know the Treatment Options

If an adolescent is in fact using and/or addicted to drugs, options are available. Lifeline is just one example of a treatment center. Care factors include labs, psycho-social history, psychological evaluations, strength based treatment plans, and family therapy.

Truly, adolescent drug use is a problem. Understanding the issue, types of drugs, and signs, asking questions, and being aware of treatment options are starting points to help kids overcome or avoid addiction. Consistency and research are key factors to defeating addiction worldwide.

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