It can be hard for parents and guardians to think of their teens having problems with addictive substances, but teens who use drugs need professional help. Their addictive behaviors can significantly impact their lives, which is why teen drug abuse treatment programs exist.
While some degree of drug experimentation can be seen as normal or acceptable, especially in some cultures, the consequences of drug use can also be lifelong for some teens. Therefore, parents and guardians must be vigilant and pay attention to what their teens are doing. They should talk with their teen about the true risks of addictive substance misuse before they need formal addiction treatment.
If you’re looking for teen drug abuse treatment programs for young boys in North Carolina, contact Foothills at Red Oak Recovery today. Call 866.300.5275 or reach out to our team online.
Common Gateway Drugs for Teens
Some common gateway drugs can prime some teens to use other, more harmful drugs. However, teens using gateway drugs can also do so and stop there. Using gateway drugs doesn’t guarantee further use of other addictive substances. However, polydrug use, where a teen takes a gateway drug and a more harmful drug at the same time, can lead to developing a substance use disorder.
It’s essential that you talk to your teen about common gateway drugs and what using them can eventually lead to in the future. Doing so will keep your teen informed and prepared for sometimes unavoidable instances of them coming across these addictive substances. Discuss the following substances with your teen:
- Alcohol: While not illegal, alcohol is an addictive substance. Consuming alcohol is incredibly harmful to the development of teenagers. Preventing that harm is more important than any concern over whether or not it acts as a gateway drug.
- Cannabis: The increased access to cannabis due to its legalization in some parts of the U.S. has made its use more common. However, marijuana can have drastic effects on a teen’s mental well-being and can lead teens to experiment with other substances.
- Nicotine: Teens can smoke cigarettes or vape e-cigarettes. While there’s little information on the long-term effect of vaping, nicotine has long been known to be both addictive and harmful.
- Prescription drugs: Talk to your teen about the effects of opioid or benzodiazepine misuse. Teens can be prescribed medications for pain or mental health issues, or they get their hands on these drugs if other people in their household take them. In any case, they can be very accessible for your teen.
Signs that Your Teen May Have Developed a Drug Addiction
Your teen may be going through mood swings which may have you worried. In many cases, these mood swings are due to the changing hormones that come with adolescence, but from time to time, they may also be signs of a developing substance use disorder. If they have a problem with mood swings while also doing the following, you should address the situation:
- Acting aggressive, angry, or hopeless
- Breaking the rules and engaging in other risky behavior
- Dropping old friends for a new group
- Exhibiting physical changes, such as sudden weight loss or frequent nosebleeds
- Losing interest in activities they once enjoyed
- Sleeping more than usual
These signs could point to your child misusing addictive substances. If you suspect that it’s gone beyond casual misuse, you should consider involving professionals and getting your teen admitted into a drug addiction treatment program.
What to Expect from a Teen Drug Abuse Treatment Program
Many teens who struggle with addiction have co-occurring mental health issues, such as anxiety or depression. For these cases, treating both problems at the same time is crucial. Instead of getting your teen admitted into an addiction treatment program, consider a dual diagnosis program. This option may be part of your teen’s treatment once they have been assessed and diagnosed by an addiction facility’s staff.
After all, each teen who comes to a rehab facility undergoes a proper diagnosis. Their recommended treatment plan is customized according to their needs. Each program will likely start with detox, where your teen’s body is cleansed of any addictive substance still in their system. Sometimes, this stage includes medication-assisted treatment (MAT), which means your teen may be prescribed FDA-approved drugs to help ease cravings and feelings of pain.
Addiction treatment of any type is often focused on therapy. In teens, biological factors also play an immense role. Segments of the teen brain typically show underdevelopment or other abnormalities, especially when struggling with addiction. This includes the prefrontal cortex, responsible for goal setting, impulsivity, judgment, and reasoning.
Therapy in addiction treatment is often available in both one-on-one and group settings. Family therapy may also be part of a formal treatment program.
Learn More About Foothills at Red Oak Recovery
Are you looking for teen drug abuse treatment programs in North Carolina? Contact Foothills at Red Oak Recovery by calling 866.300.5275 or reaching out to our team online.