When parents worry over drug addiction and substance abuse, they typically think about things like cocaine, marijuana and methamphetamine. Unfortunately there are a lot of different harmful substances that a teenage child can abuse, some of which are probably already in your home. One of the biggest considerations that you are going to want to make is whether or not it is possible for your teenager to abuse an over the counter medication in your home. Not possible, right? If you check out your medicine cabinet right now, will everything be there? Could it be possible that your child is sneaking into the medicine cabinet looking for medications to take in order to get a buzz when you are not looking?
There are a lot of different things that drive teens to abuse substances. Your teen might be stressed and looking to mellow out, or they might be exhausted and worn down and looking for a stimulant. Teens that are looking for the buzz from alcohol might turn to cough syrup for its alcohol content. Other over the counter medications like the stimulant NoDoz, the depressant Tylenol PM and even things like diuretics and laxatives are capable of being abused.
This does not necessarily mean that they have the addictive properties of illicit drugs, but if your teen is taking them in any manner other than how they were meant to be used, then your teen is abusing a substance. This is a problem that will need to be taken care of as soon as possible, because substance abuse, even in its minor forms like this, is capable of quickly growing out of control if not kept in check.
Signs of Substance Abuse
The most common way that parents realize their children are abusing over the counter medications is that medications suddenly go missing. The best way to prevent this from happening is to keep a very close eye on the medication cabinet, the first aid kit or whatever area where you keep these types of items. If you have a basic count of what you have, how many you have and where they are kept, then you will be able to determine how much medicine is being used in an average week or month. This way, if an exorbitant amount of medicine suddenly goes missing, you will immediately be able to identify the problem and nip it in the bud before it becomes something significantly more serious.
If your teen child is dealing with a substance abuse problem, then the odds are good that you are going to notice other things going on as well. For example, you may notice:
- Changes in the behavior of your teen or in your teen’s physical appearance and grooming habits.
- Nearly any time a teen is dealing with a substance abuse problem, they are going to experience mood swings, personality changes or other indicators that something is going on.
Use these indicators to determine what the issue is so that you can nip it in the bud once and for all. If you cannot end the problem on your own, rest assured that there are other options available to you.
How to Help Your Teen With Addiction
- Try to deal with the problem on your own. Talk to your child with love and understanding to diagnose the problem.
- Work with a local drug rehab program to find out what your options are. Are there any teen-friendly rehab or therapy programs in your immediate area that can help with the problem?
- Put your child in a drug rehab program that specializes in over the counter medications or special circumstances. A regular illicit drug rehab program is not going to provide your teen with the help that he or she needs.
- Promise to stand by your child through the entire process, including going to addiction counseling and therapy with him or her to help your teen truly get over this ailment.