If you’re struggling on how to talk to your teen about substance abuse don’t fret. You’re not alone. A federal report in 2016 estimates that one in seven Americans will face a substance addiction disorder in their lifetime. Furthermore, this study also indicates an alarming fact. Those teens drinking before 15 are four times more likely to become addicted. Opposed to those who start at 20 or later. And only 10 percent of those with an addiction disorder receive treatment. As a result, parents are looking for ways to prevent the frightening trend in teen substance abuse.
“We have to recognize [addiction] isn’t evidence of a character flaw or a moral failing. It’s a chronic disease of the brain that deserves the same compassion that any other chronic illness does. Just like diabetes or heart disease,” says Vivek Murthy, United States Surgeon General.
Watch Addiction Expert Glennon Doyle share her Recovery Advice
So how can caring adults intervene on behalf of the teens in their lives? Maybe, there’s a way to educate and empower youth before they become addicted?
Here are three ways adults can equip teens to resist the influence of substance abuse:
Prevention is more than just teaching your teen to blindly say no. As a result, it is essential to Inform yourself and your teen about substances they may encounter. And openly discuss the risks and consequences of experimenting with drugs and alcohol. Educate through videos, biographies, documentaries, podcasts and other media to gain information critical to their understanding. Be aware of any drastic changes in mood or behavior, and address the issue immediately. A teen with a substance use disorder is more likely to have a mood, anxiety, learning or behavioral disorder. Finally, maintaining open communication throughout the teen years can be tricky. But it is essential to prevention.
Teach your teen to take care of his or her mind and body. And give kids the tools to battle stress without numbing their emotions. By providing an environment where they have enough rest, safely express their emotions and feel valued. Make this type of healthy living environment a family priority. Pursuing an active, healthy lifestyle is good for everyone.
Develop a tribe
Be intentional about surrounding your teen with healthy peers and caring adults who reinforce positive behavior. Fill your fridge with snacks. Host hangouts and make your home a place where other teens and their families feel safe and want to gather. Never underestimate the power of community.
About Cindy Coloma
Cindy Coloma (Cindy Martinusen) is a national bestselling author who has written fifteen novels including: Beautiful (2010 Christy Award finalist for Young Adults and 2011 Revolve Young Adult Tour featured book); The Salt Garden (one of Library Journal’s best genre books in 2004); Song of the Brokenhearted (2013 ECPA bestseller with coauthor Sheila Walsh); Orchid House (2008 ECPA bestseller); and Winter Passing (2001 Christy Award finalist and Romantic Times Top Pick).
Sources: 1. The Surgeon General’s Report on Alcohol, Drugs, and Health. surgeongeneral.gov, November 2016. 2. Hafner, Josh. “Surgeon general: 1 in 7 in USA will face substance addiction.” USA Today, November 17, 2016. 3. Principles of Adolescent Substance Use Disorder Treatment: A Research-Based