Many parents fear that their teenagers will develop substance abuse issues, and addiction can happen to just about anyone. Certain young adults are more at risk for these problems than others, however, so parents should be aware of some of the main risk factors for teens and drug or alcohol abuse.
Young Adults Who Start Young
Teenagers who start drinking or using drugs at a young age are often more likely to develop addiction issues in college. Some even become addicted to drugs or alcohol while they are still teenagers, and these problems can continue to develop as they age.
Although some parents feel that experimenting with drugs and alcohol is a normal part of life for teenagers, it is important to take this type of behavior very seriously. Parents who seek treatment for their children early can help put a stop to the problem before it develops further.
Teens Who Feel Their Parents Approve
When teenagers feel that their parents approve of their drug or alcohol use, they are more likely to continue using. Many parents have a difficult time determining where to draw the line, however; for example, some feel that it is better for their children to drink at home than anywhere else, and others want their children to feel safe calling them for a ride after drinking rather than driving.
Even though it isn't a bad idea for parents to tell their children to contact them for rides instead of hitting the road while inebriated, it isn't a good idea to encourage drinking and drug use in any form. Instead, parents should encourage healthy activities as an alternative.
Those Whose Parents Have Substance Abuse Issues
There are many reasons why teens are more likely to develop substance abuse issues if their parents have them. First of all, some studies have suggested that alcoholism and other addictions can be genetic, so teens who carry these genes can be more likely to develop problems of their own. Secondly, teens could follow in their parents' footsteps because they look up to them.
The same types of behavior can occur if teens have older siblings or other family members or role models who consume alcohol or use drugs. It is essential for those who have substance abuse problems to seek help for the benefit of themselves and the children in their lives, and alcohol or drugs should never be used around teens. Family counseling for substance abuse can be helpful for everyone who is involved.
Teens With Easy Access
Teens who have easy access to drugs or alcohol are more likely to try these substances, which could lead to abuse later on. Parents should make an effort to keep any prescription drugs or alcohol in a hidden, locked place, and they should also keep an eye on who their teens are hanging out with. Even though they might be proactive about keeping these substances away from the hands of their teens, other parents and older siblings might not be so careful.
Those With Other Issues
Young adults who suffer from low self-esteem, depression, psychological problems and other issues might be more likely to indulge in these substances, so parents should seek professional help for any teens who seem to have an unhealthy frame of mind.
Alcohol or drug abuse are frightening, and many teens are at a risk of developing addiction issues in their lives. By knowing the risk factors, however, parents can work to keep their college students substance free safe.