Substance Abuse and Teenagers: Is Your Child Addicted to Prescription Drugs?August 31st, 2012
Prescription drugs are everywhere, and you probably have some serious pain killers or sleeping pills in your home right now. People of any age can become addicted to prescription drugs, even children and teenagers. Sometimes the addiction is the result of a medical problem that is being treated under a doctor’s care. But in other cases, the child becomes addicted on a parent’s or caregiver’s prescriptions. In either case, discovering your child is addicted to pills can be devastating.
Prescription drug abuse poses serious health risks. According to the LA Times, prescription painkillers cause more deaths than heroin and cocaine combined. Because prescription medications are so easy to obtain, and peer pressure so strong, how can you stop your children from becoming addicted to the prescription drugs in your medicine cabinet?
Two common sense precautions can help you keep control of the drugs in your house:
- Count Your Pills
If you take any prescription medications, make sure you keep tabs not only on where you keep your medications, but on the number of pills you have. If you notice you have a smaller supply than you thought, chances are that your pills are being stolen by someone in your household.
- Look For Signs
Counting your pills, or even locking them away, is not sufficient to prevent your children from becoming addicted to prescription drugs. In fact, it may push them towards acquiring prescription medications through other means, where the pills may be even more unsafe. Knowing what to look for in your children will help you to notice a problem before it’s too late.
Common symptoms of prescription drug abuse include the following:
- Mood swings
- Changes in sleeping habits
- Frequent visits to doctors
- Excessive energy or sedation
Many of these symptoms are typical teenage behavior, so as a parent, it’s up to you to distinguish between mundane matters and more serious patterns that deviate from what you usually see.
Talking to your child one time about the dangers of prescription drugs and painkillers will solve nothing. However, even with repeated lectures, some kids will fall prey to addiction. It’s not necessary their fault; these pills are prescribed for legitimate purposes, and people can sometimes take their use too far. Once you understand the signs of addiction, though, you will have a better understanding and a better chance of preventing a serious, fatally dangerous problem.
Treatment Programs for Substance Abuse Work Wonders for Teenagers
But if your worst nightmare has become a reality and you discover your child is indeed addicted to prescription drugs, you may feel like your world is crumbling around you. But professional treatment programs for substance abuse can work wonders and transform lives.
Many different approaches to treating substance abuse and teenagers exist. Most treatment centers incorporate different types of therapy, focusing on the methods that work best for each individual case:
- 12-step programs (Narcotics Anonymous)
- Individual therapy
- Family therapy
- Substitute drugs (methadone, suboxone)
Addiction rarely cures itself, even among stronger adults, so it’s unlikely that your child will stop taking the pills. And because addiction is a serious medical condition, professionally supervised detox is recommended to keep your child safe during withdrawal and greatly increase the chances of success. Most rehab facilities offer detox services that lead into a long-term program that utilizes the aforementioned types of therapy.
If you believe your child has an addiction to prescription drugs or painkillers, it is your responsibility to act immediately. Failure to do so could result in the death of your child. A call to a rehab facility can set the wheels of recovery in motion, so don’t wait—call now.