Few things can trouble a parent as much as a young son or daughter who is abusing drugs and alcohol. This very real and very current problem strikes tens of millions of parents every year. Millions of youngsters between the ages of twelve and twenty-four are addicted to drugs and alcohol, and hundreds of thousands more become addicted every single year. And many parents are left wondering how to help someone with a drug addiction?
Young adults are the most, “at risk”, age demographic of them all when it comes to substance abuse because young adults have the highest likelihood of dying from substance abuse, of taking unnecessary risks while abusing substances, of committing crimes because of substances, and of spreading substances into the lives of other young adults. True enough, the young adult population of the nation is the fastest growing drug concern in the nation, with numbers of young adults abusing drugs and alcohol skyrocketing since 2010.
A lot of parents, especially parents who have never dealt with drug or alcohol abuse themselves before, often are at a loss for words and solutions on how to address their kid’s drug or alcohol abuse problem. Many are too shocked, too dismayed, and too stricken with grief to actually do anything right away. This is the first error that parents make when it comes to youth substance abuse. Most parents won’t do anything about it at first, and they will just hope that it goes away and is simply a passing phase.
Drug and alcohol abuse and addiction is not a passing phase. The parents who save their kids from this death stroke are the parents that act fast and are decisive about it. These are the parents who get educated on addiction almost overnight, pouring over addiction and intervention-related material, and then confronting their kid the next day. The longer addiction is left to do its dirty work, the less chance parents have of being able to salvage their child.
- “The first thing to remember about addressing addiction in a child is to act fast. Try to eradicate it before it becomes a huge chemical dependence problem. The faster a parent acts, the higher the chance that the youth will survive the ordeal.”
How to Help Someone with a Drug Addiction
Educating parents about addiction is crucial in this day and age. A lot of parents don’t even know what to look for, and they may mistake clear signs of substance abuse in their kids for other, “adolescent issues.” For that reason alone, parents must learn the signs and symptoms of addiction in young adults, and they must learn them fast and start looking for them if they are suspicious. Young adults who are abusing drugs and alcohol will often display the following, broken into two categories.
Some of the physical and health-related signs of drug abuse are:
- Eyes that are bloodshot or pupils that are smaller or larger than normal.
- Frequent nosebleeds could be related to snorted drugs (meth or cocaine).
- Changes in appetite or sleep patterns. Sudden weight loss or weight gain.
- Seizures without a history of epilepsy.
- Deterioration in personal grooming or physical appearance.
- Impaired coordination, injuries/accidents/bruises that they won’t or can’t tell you about- they don’t know how they got hurt.
- Unusual smells on breath, body, or clothing.
- Shakes, tremors, incoherent or slurred speech, impaired or unstable coordination.
Various psychological warning signs of alcohol or drug abuse are:
- Unexplained, confusing change in personality and/or attitude.
- Sudden mood changes, irritability, angry outbursts or laughing at nothing.
- Periods of unusual hyperactivity or agitation.
- Lack of motivation; inability to focus, appears lethargic or “spaced out.”
- Appears fearful, withdrawn, anxious, or paranoid, with no apparent reason.
The Youth Problem: How Can I Help a Drug Addict
Sadly, youth drug and alcohol abuse is a lot more prevalent than we’d like to think it is. For some statistics on it:
- Alcohol is easily the substance abused most frequently by adolescents, followed by marijuana and prescription drugs. In the past month for example, no less than thirty-nine percent of high school seniors reported drinking alcohol, almost a quarter of them reported using marijuana, and a staggering twenty percent reported abusing prescription drugs, (arguably the most dangerous of them all).
- Youths also die much more easily from substance abuse. Studies show that a young adult between the ages of twelve and twenty-five is no less than three times as likely to die from drug or alcohol-related causes than an individual who abuses these substances at an age of thirty or older.
- Youths tend to spread drugs and alcohol more rampantly than other demographics do. For the numbers on it, there are currently about ten million Americans under the age of twenty-five who are addicted to drugs and alcohol. Prior to 2010, there were only about six million. Studies show us further that, for every year that a young adult is addicted, he or she will have introduced two to five other non-users to drugs or to addictive drinking. Middle aged and older adults rarely get other people addicted to drugs and alcohol. It is the peer pressure factor at work in the very worst of ways.
What Parents can Do About Helping an Addicted Child
Once parents learn about addiction and have some good, solid data about it so that they know what they are dealing with, the next logical question is:
- “How on earth do I get my kid to stop abusing drugs or alcohol?”
Once true addiction sets in for a young adult, regardless of the substance, there is really only one way to address this effectively, and that’s with rehabilitation of an inpatient nature. Young adults show about a ninety-eight percent failure rate for trying to beat addiction on their own. They almost always need help from an inpatient rehab center.
The best type of rehab program for a young adult is an inpatient, residential, drug and alcohol addiction and dependence treatment center, detox facility, rehab program, and recovery organization. These ones by far tend to be the most successful, and they easily offer the highest success rates and the most permanent of recoveries. They have inpatient detoxes so an individual can get freed from chemical dependence right off the bat. They have multiple different types of approaches to rehab, so the youth can work with a counselor and build a treatment program that suits him or her. In the end, these are by far the most successful routes for young adults.
When a young adult is abusing drugs and alcohol or has become addicted to drugs and alcohol then parents need to make it their priority to get their youth into rehab. An intervention might be needed if the kid is unwilling and over the age of eighteen, but regardless, the priority must be rehab. With rehab, any kid can go free from addiction once and for all and live a happy and peaceful life.