What is Substance Abuse Disorder?
Substance abuse disorder is characterized by one’s inability to abstain from regularly abusing substances, illicit or otherwise. While this diagnosis is not to be confused with ‘experimentation,’ or ‘occassional drug usage,’ experts state that any abuse of harmful substances, if left unchecked, will almost certainly lead to one developing a substance abuse disorder.
And, according to these same experts, as well as nation-wide statistics, no other demographic is more vulnerable to experimenting and ultimately developing a substance abuse disorder than that of troubled teens - teenagers who are especially inclined to act on out-of-control behaviors due to deep-rooted mental health-related issues.
As it stands, the nation’s troubled teens are currently abusing substances like never before with millions of high school students experimenting with harmful drugs - a large portion of whom meet the criteria for having a substance abuse disorder diagnosis.
Substance Abuse Treatment Programs for Troubled Teens
As the title aptly suggests, substance abuse treatment programs for troubled teens are facilities in which teens who suffer from substance abuse disorder can receive rehabilitative treatment for their harmful addiction to dangerous (sometimes life-threatening) drugs. Like most treatments involving out-of-control teens, there are a wide array of treatment programs and methods for parents of said addicted teens to choose from. However, it should be noted that not all treatment programs are as credible as others.
In order for parents to narrow their search in finding drug treatment for their child, it is highly recommended that they act with due-diligence by personally researching and inquiring about any prospective treatment program before sending their child to said program's facility. For instance, some programs are solely defined as treatment facilities, offering little to no services in regards to education. However, most of the premiere troubled teen treatment facilities provide a fully certified academic curriculum in addition to providing effective drug rehabilitation. In reference to the latter type of program, therapeutic boarding schools are the most popular choice among parents who want their child to receive an education while receiving rehabilitative treatment.
Potential Warning Signs and Symptoms of Substance Abuse and Addiction
When it comes to teenage substance abuse, early intervention is key. As any addiction-specialist will attest, receiving treatment early on in their addiction (or experimentation with harmful substances) will exponentially increase an addicted or experimenting teen's chances of achieving full-sobriety, as well as dramatically decreasing their chances of developing a long-term, potentially life-threatening addiction later on.
While the early-intervening treatment is left to the licensed addiction-treatment specialists, noticing and identifying potential warning signs of addiction are the responsibility of the parents. Before a parent can successfully identify potential symptoms and signs of addiction, however, they must first be well-adept educated on knowing what to look for. Thus, we have created a list of potential warning signs for parents to use in their attempt to readily identify their child's potential addiction or experimentation to drugs.
They are as follows:
- Heightened secrecy or isolation from the rest of the family
- Increased inclination to lie or make up excuses for odd behaviors
- A difficulty with critical thinking or keeping focus
- Withdrawing from academic, sport, or other interests and responsibilities
- Fits of paranoia, irritability, anxiousness, or constant fidgeting
- Changes in character such as moods or attitudes and passions
- Significant loss (or gain) in weight
- Loss of interest in once-passionate interests, hobbies, or activities
- A rapid decline in academic performance
- Abandonment or indifferent attitude towards peers who were once considered as friends
- A poor or diminished sense of hygiene
- Constant avoidance of eye-contact
- Unusual tiredness or uncharacteristic increase in manic energy
- Developing a habit of missing curfew or sneaking out at night
- Bloodshot eyes or habit of using eye drops to conceal bloodshot eyes
These potential warning signs are not complete, nor are they definitive pieces of proof that confirm a diagnosis of addiction. Rather, they are merely potential warning signs that could be implications of surreptitious, drug-abusing behaviors.
If a teen displays or acts on any of the aforementioned symptoms or warning signs, it does not automatically imply that drugs are veritably to blame. However, even if a teen isn't abusing drugs while displaying these types of behaviors or warning signs, it could suggest that the child in question is struggling with mental health-related issues. In either case, parents should seek immediate treatment for their child if he or she has shown a dramatic change in character or behavior - such as the aforementioned list of signs and symptoms may indicate.