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By LifeLine

Teen Suicide, Risk Factors, and Intervention Measures

Teen Suicide

Nothing is more devastating for a family or community than to lose a young person to teen suicide. Oftentimes, parents, classmates, siblings, and neighbors are left wondering whether they could have done anything to prevent the spiraling of suicide thoughts and ultimately the death itself.

Preventing tragedies such as these require a proper understanding of suicide ideation and the risk factors pushing the teen to a point of attempted suicide. That said, the reasons for attempted suicide in teens can be quite complex. In general, the rate of suicide attempts in children is much lower, but as they progress to become adolescents, the rate goes up sharply.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), suicide ranks third among the leading causes of death in the United States for people aged between 15 and 24 years.  (Check out this article: Report shows Utah youth suicides jumps 141%)

The risk of suicide has been shown to dramatically increase in instances where teens have access to firearms. Statistics reveal that 60% of all the suicides in the United States are gun related. Therefore, parents and guardians with guns in their homes should ensure they are unloaded and safely locked out of reach of teens.

Apart from access to firearms, overdose resulting from over-the-counter prescriptions and self-medication are among the leading methods through which teens attempt and complete suicides. In terms of gender, there is a stark difference between girls and boys. While the rate of girls attempting suicide is twice that of boys, it has been found that completed suicide cases are 4 times higher in boys than in girls. This has been attributed to the use of more lethal methods including hanging, firearms, or jumping from extreme heights. Hormones, depression, and social peer pressure are large factors.

The Teens at Risk for Suicide

The area between childhood and adulthood can be quite a gray area for teens, and a confusing one at that. Even though it has been cited as a period of tremendous possibilities, if not well managed, this bridge from childhood to adulthood can be a source of stress and worry. Many teens struggle to fit in socially, act responsibly, and perform well academically. This pressure can be overwhelming if left unchecked.

Nowadays, a majority of teenagers tend to explore their sexual identity through relationships and because of the fact that they are still growing in maturity, such explorations can result into conflicts. With rules and expectations at every corner they turn to, teens may feel that their independence and self-identity is under attack.

As pointed out at the beginning, suicide attempts are driven by a cocktail of interrelated factors. Some of the commonly cited push factors of suicide ideation include:

Psychological Disorders – This may include depression, alcohol and drug abuse, and bipolar disorders. It is said that close to 95% of people suffer from a psychological disorder at the point of committing suicide. 

Feelings of irritation, agitation, and distress.  

Feelings of worthlessness and hopelessness which are oftentimes followed by depression. 

Inadequate support network, feelings of social isolation, and poor relationships with peers or parents.

 Previous suicide attempts. 

A family history of suicide or depression. 

Physical, emotional, or sexual abuse.

 

Warning Signs of Suicide

There are many suicide warning signs. Because of this, parents need to be extremely attentive to catch some of them. It is important to point out that not indicators will be manifested at once, but should you see your teen expressing any of these behaviors, you need to pay attention.

Sudden Calmness and Withdrawl

After a period of moodiness or excessive sadness, a teen who becomes calm could be giving a sign that he has come to a point of taking his life. In most instances, they will withdraw from the rest of the family or peers and choose to be alone. You may notice a gradual loss of interest in activities they previously enjoyed. The withdrawal could also portend depression which is one of the leading causes of suicide.

Changes in Personality and Behavior

http://www.lifelineutah.comA person contemplating suicide may exhibit a change either sudden or gradual, of behavior and attitude. They may speak or move with unusual slowness or speed and to some extent, they may be less concerned about their personal appearance. Because this trait is associated with addictions as well as “typical” teen behavior, we recommend consulting with one of the professionals at Lifeline For Youth.

When the change in personality is accompanied by self-harmful behavior such as reckless driving, increase intake of drugs, or engaging in other risky behaviors, may serve as an indicator that the teen in question doesn’t value life as much.

Teens Who Threaten Suicide

This is a rather direct warning sign. It has been established that about 50 to 75% of people who contemplate suicide may confide or give a hint to a friend or relative. That said, it must be pointed out that not everyone considering suicide will give a red flag and not all those who threaten suicide actually follow through to complete it. That notwithstanding, any threats of suicide should be carefully and seriously followed up.

Hopelessness

Any teenager showing a deep sense of hopelessness either concerning the future or their present circumstances must be carefully observed. With little expectations of improvement, a majority of teenagers consider suicide as a solution to end it all.

Suicide Intervention

Whenever you spot suicide warning signs you should act with haste to arrest any thought processes that could be fueling the impending suicide attempt. The first step is talking to them about suicide. You don’t have to be direct in this, but you can simply show them that you care. Often suicide attempts are a call for help. This will open an opportunity for them to express their feelings and it could give them the relief they long for.

Be attentive, empathetic, patient, and non-judgmental as you engage them. Try as much as possible not to blame them or argue with them as this may escalate the problem.

You can also offer help and support by talking with the professional counselors at Lifeline For Youth. Do all you can to encourage them to make positive life changes and continue your support even after the visible signs of suicide are long gone. For more information about our services don’t hesitate to call us today. The life you may save is worth it.

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By LifeLine

Pornography Addiction in Teens

Pornography Addiction in Teens

While it may be perfectly normal and healthy for teenagers to develop curiosity in their sexuality, changing times have brought with them alarming statistics addressing teens hooked on pornography. Thanks (or no thanks) to the internet and cable television, there is a huge collection of pornographic images available for unrestricted viewing by adults as well as teenagers.

In the past, young people could not easily access pornographic materials unless they went an extra mile to scavenge from trash or access hidden adult collections. Today, they don’t have to expend any effort searching -it is all overly accessible. Even children armed with only rudimentary computer skills can unlock the floodgates to a barrage of X-rated images. It takes only a couple of mouse clicks to gain access.

Most unfortunately teens are inundated with a barrage of sexual stimuli before their capacity to integrate such materials into their sexual identity is fully developed. Thinking about it, much of the teen pornography issues reflect the broader social reality and the fact that pornography has officially gone mainstream.

Teenagers, being in their formative stages, are quite unsure about their sexual identity and to them pornography is not much different than a trip to the candy shop. They revel in the newfound euphoric feelings while at the same time secretly connecting with other folks with whom they share similar sexual tastes.

Studies done on this area have ascertained that pornography has roared into our everyday life so overwhelming that the existing social science models of treatment can no longer contain the phenomenon. Many young people suffer from exposure to pornography because it is an addictive force that is slowly consuming their productivity and capturing their creativity. 

The Impact of Pornography on Teenagers

While the definition of pornography is clear, the effects it has on teenagers is still a hotly debated topic. There are a few empirical studies that have been done on the issue, but they are yet to give a conclusive view. The reasons behind the scarcity in clinical research data is because many teenagers are often reluctant in speaking about their sexual habits. Lifeline For Youth understand the shame and remorse your child experiences and our trained counselors know how to open the lines of communication. Many of the studies done show a strong correlation between teen exposure to pornography and the potential for serious harm. For instance, in 1999, Benedek and Brown conducted a research on this area and noted some negative effects of pornography on teenagers. Among the findings included:

Imitation and modeling of inappropriate behaviors


Unhealthy interference with the normal sexual development process


Emotional side effects such as nightmares and feelings of guilt, shame, anxiety, and
confusion


Premature stimulation of sexual activity

Development of potentially harmful and misleading attitudes towards sex

In addition to the risks above, other researchers found out later on that teen pornography addiction is associated with risks such as poor social bonds and aggressive sexual patterns. If left unchecked, youth porn can lead to addiction which is considered a pervasive phenomenon

In terms of chemical processes, pornography has been found to be powerful in the creation of biochemical rush among teenagers. Basically, when teenagers are exposed to arousing images, epinephrine is secreted from the adrenaline gland into the bloodstream. Once it gets here, it is transported to the brain where it successfully locks the image in.  

Once the image mapping has been completed, it takes a simple recollection of the image to trigger an arousal. For this reason, teens can vividly recall the pornographic images they were exposed to years ago while they were still young children.

Other chemicals that come into play to create the euphoric state in the addicted teenagers include adrenaline, serotonin, dopamine, and endorphins, each of which are responsible for addictions, be it drug or behaviorally induced.. When teenagers experience this biochemical thrill, they unsurprisingly, look for every opportunity available to experience it again. At this point, practitioners consider pornography to be more than merely a social issue. They aptly categorize it as a drug because of its addictive nature.

Gender, Multicultural, and Socioeconomic Considerations

Cultures tend to have established parameters defining what is appropriate with sexuality. While some of these cultures are much broader in perspective, others are much narrower, making the sexuality topic almost a taboo to mention. Practitioners in this field usually approach cultures with care as they educate themselves on the various norms.

The most affected gender has been the males, but the rate of teenage girls hooked on pornography is also rising. Many of the girls turn to pornography with the aim of using it as the blueprint for their sexual activities and development.

When it comes to socioeconomic considerations, the most vulnerable teens to pornography are those coming from challenged backgrounds. In the same research by Benedek and Brown, children from single parent homes are particularly at risk. Other risk groups include youth with mental and emotional challenges and teens who have lived through sexual or physical abuse.

How to Address Pornography Addictions

There are various therapeutic options for teens at risk of pornography addiction or those who are addicted. Some of the considerations you have to make when handling such sensitive cases include:

Reducing Shame

Shame is one of the major factors for teens struggling with pornography. Some may be
hesitant to answer questions while others avoid eye contact altogether. In addressing such cases, you should try to minimize the shame by being
non-judgmental and supportive about their struggles.


Normalizing the Problem

A lot of teenagers with compulsive porn problems tend to suffer in isolation. Many of them believe they are alone and perverts in their actions. To handle this, you have to reassure them that their problem is one of the prevalent issues, but still communicate clearly the dangers it has on them.

Porn addiction recovery is not something that is available at all teen addiction treatment centers. If you suspect that your child has had repeated exposure to inappropriate material on the internet, on television, or in print, you need Lifeline For Youth. We can provide targeted and specialized pornography addiction treatment. The porn addiction treatment options provided at Lifeline For Youth can help break the cycle of bad choices and physical addiction.  Call today for information.

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By LifeLine

Teenage Depression

Teen Depression

Teen depression and anxiety are very real things. We at Lifeline For Youth want to make sure you have some of the facts you need to know about how to help your teen with depression or anxiety.
 
Let’s break down some fact and fiction about these conditions and learn how to identify depression in teens and how to help your teen deal with anxiety.

"Depression is just being sad or bummed out"

FALSE!!

Recognizing teen depression isn’t only about being sad is the first step to awareness. Teen depression symptoms can often present in many ways such as lack of energy, too much or too little sleep, restlessness, irritability, change in appetite, drop in grades or attendance at school, hostility , frequent bouts of crying or tearfulness, changes in eating habits, hopelessness, and substance abuse. Because so many of these symptoms are present during adolescence, to begin with it may be harder for a parent or loved one to understand the link between these behaviors. At Lifeline For Youth, our skilled professionals have been helping teens for over 27 years and know how to recognize symptoms of teen depression.

"Depression will go away on its own."

FALSE!!

Unlike the normal ups and downs of the teenage mood swings, depression can become a battle that lasts for weeks, months and in worse cases, years. So many factors can contribute to and fuel depression in a time of life that is typified by its own precariousness. Getting help for your teen if you suspect depression is vital to overcoming it. Help is necessary, and ignoring the symptoms won’t make it go away.

"Depression can lead to suicide."

TRUE!!

Rates of teen suicide and teen depression are inseparably intertwined. In an article from Healthychildren.org, we learn that suicide is no less than the third most prevalent cause of teen death in America, extending from ages 15 through 24. We also know that studies show 90% of all suicides are among teens who suffer from one or more of: depression, anxiety issues, alcohol abuse, drug abuse, or other behavioral issues.

Check out this article: Report shows Utah youth suicides jumps 141%

"Depression is a mental disorder."

TRUE!!

Calling depression “moodiness” is like calling a landfill “messy”. Because of the complexities of the human brain, we are learning new information on its function every day. By classing depression as a mental disorder, it is differentiated from an illness or sickness in that it is simply out of the norm in terms of normal brain function.

"If you've had depression once, you'll always have it."

FALSE!!

Depression is very treatable and comes with a good success rate with proper professional intervention. While sadly, up to 75% of teens that experience depression will experience it later on in their lives, treatment is available.

Treatment for teen depression includes and depends on a support system that will teach your child how to overcome and prevent thinking that could lead to relapses. At Lifeline for Youth, we have a 97% satisfaction rate with our teens and their families.

"Depressed teens are still social."

TRUE!!

Although teens are more commonly noted for their highly un-social personas, it’s actually false. Because parents see a withdrawal and separation from a lot of the authority figures in the child’s life, it is assumed that teens adopt a uniformly solitary introverted existence. In reality they are more likely to remain friends with peers they feel comfortable with and simply become more selective in their associations. This is one of the significant differences between adult depression and teen depression.

"Depression is just something adults get."

FALSE!!

Most adults tend to forget the struggles of childhood because they’re busy navigating adulthood, and specifically adulthood with teens. National statistics put 3 million teenagers from 12-17 on the map for experiencing a depressive episode in 2015, with a staggering 2 million that experienced a serious depression that affected their daily functionality.

We are sadly mistaken if we think that only adults experience stress levels that lead to struggles with depression or mood disorders.

"Anxiety comes from worrying too much."

FALSE!!

Anxiety is a complex issue and experts warn about putting anxiety into a cause and effect statement. While it includes many triggers, anxiety can often have no apparent trigger at all. Exercising, being dehydrated, and sometimes just thinking about having a panic attack can bring one on.

"Anxiety and Depression are pretty much the same things."

FALSE!!

While the symptoms of anxiety and depression in teens are similar and include many of the same traits, they are separate. People who suffer from depression often have a history of anxiety issues. To say that one causes the other would be inaccurate, but many people including teens often struggle with both.

"Anxiety is made up. It's just in their head."

FALSE!!

Anxiety involves neurotransmitters, hormones, and results in physical problems. Because the brain can be over-sensitized to stimuli that trigger adrenaline, the fight or flight mechanism, and the subsequent bodily reactions are very real. If treating anxiety were easy as responding to triggers with logical thought processes, there would be no need for professional intervention.

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"Anxiety symptoms can include dizziness, chest pains, and diarrhea."

TRUE!!

Because we don’t see a psychological disorder the same way we would see and recognize a physical disorder, we tend to diminish its significance in a person’s life. This is what makes recognizing teen anxiety difficult because most of the symptoms of teen anxiety are internal. The effects of anxiety may be silent, but they are a very real response to the chemical, emotional, and thought imbalances in your child.

"The only way to deal with depression and enxiety is medication."

FALSE!!

There are many times when medications can be very helpful, and they certainly have their place. Because some medications can offer serious long-term side effects, including triggering and over sensitizing to attacks of anxiety and even addiction later on, a large array of treatment options are considered. Rest assured that LifeLine for Youth will work with you to treat your loved one with the utmost care and respect, including alternatives to medications.

Bottom Line...

If you suspect your teen is struggling with anxiety and/or depression call Lifeline For Youth today. With our caring and committed staff we can help with targeted teenage depression treatment, present relevant teenage anxiety, and depression solutions, and help prevent turning back to old thought and habit patterns. Your loved ones deserve it. Call for your consultation today!

By LifeLine

Connecting with your teen

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Connecting with your teen can be difficult...

…We can help! Look, sometimes connecting with your teen can seem as fun as saying ‘thank you’ for a root canal, but it is a very important and vital component of their well being, and integral to the fabric of your family life.

We all know that bonding with your teenager starts way before they reach adolescence. Ideally it should start when they were new and full of promise and potential, back when it was easy and you were their hero.

But here in the present, things are quite different. You might feel like you’ve been through a rough simulation of Invasion of the Body Snatchers and are now forced to conduct your life around someone whom only faintly resembles that cherub you once swaddled.

Before you go file a missing person report, let’s summarize the importance of connecting with your teenage son or daughter. Being aware of challenges we face in today’s world, and learning to adjust our expectations and form habits that are conducive to good communication are vital. Your offspring will thank you. When they’re 25…but still. 

--You might feel like you've been through a rough simulation of Invasion of the Body Snatchers!

Momma's boys and Daddy's girls...

A healthy connection is crucial to your developing child, even into the precarious teen years. Children that have regular interaction with a father are found to have greater success socially, academically, emotionally and run a lower risk of being overweight. These benefits also follow children who are more likely to be at a higher risk for behavioral issues, into the educational forum. They are found to have better reading scores, less behavioral issues, and if the father is active with school volunteering the statistics for A+ grades increases significantly.

Being engaged with their father finds teens better in social situations, and boosts their confidence and self-esteem. So dad, set up some one on one time with your son or daughter. Go on a date, play catch, or just get goofy together. You’ll find that not only will your relationship become more powerful, but your kids will be more confident and feel better about themselves. Power on Dad!

One study showed that boys with a closer relationship with their mothers found a multitude of benefits. Among them was better performance in school accompanied by better articulation, less likelihood of engaging in risky behavior, better self-image, friendships and less inclination towards anxiety and depression.

Connecting with your daughter is equally important and can prevent risky and dangerous behaviors by showing her she doesn’t need to look outside of the home for affirmations of worth and care.

--Children that have regular interaction with a father are found to have greater success socially, academically, emotionally and run a lower risk of being overweight.

What Does A Good Relationship with My Teenager Look Like?

We all have ideals of what it would be like to live in the “perfect family”. Yeah, you saw those little quotation marks. Obviously, life can greatly differ from what we imagine, and what we really end up with. Gone are the days of Wally and the Beaver and the familial Hollywood utopia. Suddenly you find yourself Googling “staying connected to your teenager” while you’re waiting for them to come in after curfew, yet again.

Here are a few tips that might help:

Relaxed Openness

If a teen suspects criticism or condemnation there’s going to be a shut down faster than a bank on a national holiday. So what do you do? Well, if you feel like you are nagging, you probably are. No one (not even you) feels like producing their best behavior when motives, energy level, and priorities are always called into question to be picked apart like a frog in biology class.

A  no-pressure platform can help build trust that you are still a safe haven and an emotionally secure place to fall back on. Even though they might not use the opportunity to talk as often as you’d like, being able to talk if they feel the need is a great comfort in this jumbled time of sorting through themselves.

Bottom line: let them know you are open to listening.

Physical Touch

Throughout your child’s younger years, hugs and kisses and snuggles were a prime source of reassurance when they needed boundaries or attention. Even though it can seem awkward to express affection for the teenager before you, who is now more man or woman than a child, touching and affirming that you’re there for them if they need it, is just as important as ever.

Because each child has his or her own personality, the amount and type of touching may be more or less, but should always be noted. Monitoring could be necessary as well for the giver if you are not naturally inclined to touch, or perhaps are more of a giver than the child is comfortable with.

Boys, in particular, are harder hit when it comes to the famine of physical touch. Believing it is childish, they pull away in an effort to define themselves as “manly” or mature. This can also be why a breakup of a first love is harder on young men. Sacrificing physical touch with their parents have created a physical and psychological need – and thus a body or touch-hungry individual.

You don’t need to go overboard and smother your child. Anything from a shoulder squeeze to a goodnight kiss, pats on the head or a full-on hug….Just be aware of the physical needs of your teen. If you are there to supply it whenever it’s needed and every chance you get, you can dramatically change how you relate to your teen.

Quality (and Quantity!) Time With Your Teen

It’s often said that quality is better than quantity. Well we say, make the most of what you have! 

Find natural times to spend time with your son or daughter. You don’t have to insert yourself into your teen’s life against their wishes or make outrageous demands on their time. Especially if you want great results.

Finding different ways to spend time with your teen may be as easy as taking advantage of the normal activities of everyday life. Some examples could be:

  • Cooking and eating together
  • Chores or volunteering for a shared cause.
  • Go shopping! Let them know the spending limit and make sure it is something they want, not you.
  • Learn something together. Ask them, “What have you always wanted to learn how to do?” or “Is there something you’ve never done, but would like to?”
  • Letting your teen have you for an unplugged hour or afternoon for whatever they want to do (cue the relaxed openness!)

Spending time with your child can open up a new avenue of shared interest and create meaningful communication with your teen and a connection that they aren’t quick to put aside.

Bottom Line:

Bonding with your son or daughter involves a decent amount of communication as well as quality and quantity family time. One-on-one activities teach you and your child about who they are and where they fit into this great chaos we call life.

Though suggestions given here are best seeded when children are young, don’t give up hope! They are still applicable to today and all the gnarly situations you find yourself wading through with your ever-changing teenager.

Lifeline For Youth stands behind families and aims to educate and help families heal. For more suggestions and tips give us a call at 1-855-968-8443 today.

By LifeLine

How do I know if my teen is using drugs or alcohol?

“How can I tell if my teen is using drugs or alcohol?”

Drugs leave physical and behavioral symptoms, just like a cold or chicken pox, and if present, can be indicative of use. Depending on what type of drug or drugs your child may be using, different markers may be present. Let’s look at some of the signs of teen drug use. We’ve broken them down into 3 categories: Physical, Behavioral, and Psychological.

Physical Signs of Substance Abuse

The Eyes

Have you ever really looked into someone’s eyes? Almost every type of substance abuse presents physical changes in the appearance of the eyes- from very enlarged pupils (pupil dilation), to very tiny pupils, called pinning. Also, other common effects seen in the eyes are redness, called “bloodshot” eyes (Conjuctiva), and watery or “glossy” looking eyes. Common with some stimulants like amphetamines (think Ecstasy and MDMA) are blurred vision and rapid eye movements or quivering (called nystagmus). Half closed and droopy eyelids register a “stoned” look that is all too common.

Rapid Changes in Weight

You’ve been accustomed to the thick and thin of your teen’s weight fluctuations since they were born. Weight is put on to supply growing bodies with the nutrients it needs to progress, resulting in thinner bodies after the growth spurt is over. However if you start noticing rapid changes in weight without the added increase in height or muscle mass, it may be time to pay attention.

Certain stimulants like Adderall used for ADHD and the like, if abused can cause weight loss.

Also the use of other substances can cause a dulling of the senses and lack of awareness to hunger and inattention to the needs of the body, thus affecting weight loss.

Changes In Hygiene and Grooming

Some teens don’t pay much attention to the details of physical upkeep, especially during times when their bodies are changing considerably. However,  a decrease in attention to appearance can be a clue to the puzzle if your teens habits take a drastic turn. Look for out-of-the-ordinary smells. Pay special attention to their breath and clothing. If they have developed a sudden interest in air fresheners or perfumes, they may be trying to hide the smell of drugs or smoke.

Paraphernalia

This is the most obvious of the signs of drug use in teens. Indisputable are the tools of the trade, and they can range from small cases and tins to unsuspected items like gum wrappers, modified pop cans, cut up straws, or dollars curled up with residue. Snack size bags and zip-lock style plastic bags can hold all types of drugs, from marijuana to prescription pills. Pay attention to kitchen items your child may be taking off to their room and not returning.

You are your child’s parent, not their friend so that means you have every right to look through their room and belongings! Especially if you suspect something like substance abuse is a problem for your teenager.

"You are your child’s parent, not their friend so that means you have every right to look through their room and belongings! Especially if you suspect something like substance abuse is a problem for your teenager."

LifeLine for Youth

Behavioral Signs of Substance Abuse

Decline in School Performance

Big changes in grades and attendance that happen within a short time and have no explanation (family stress, sickness etc.) and are atypical of your child, might mean an intervention could be necessary. Combined with other physical and behavioral markers, poor grades, attendance, downturn of participation in class and sports, or getting into more trouble (fights, arguments) than is normal can be a big red flag for drug use in teens and young adults.

Changes in Social Circles

During the time of discovering one’s autonomy likes, dislikes and interests will change. With this vacillation of interests will come changes in the friends your child hangs around with. This is to be expected. But drastic changes in the number of friends, either increase or decrease should raise some eyebrows. If you see your child wanting to isolate themselves or withdraw from family that may be a sign of substance abuse. When a child spends a lot of time with unnamed friends and acquaintances, or several that you’ve never heard of or seen before, pay attention, parent! Teens will fall in with those that share their interests and it merits your attentive eye.

"If you see your child wanting to isolate themselves or withdraw from family that may be a sign of substance abuse."

LifeLine for Youth

Missing Money or Prescriptions

News flash – drugs cost money. When you’re a teenager, you don’t have a ton of disposable income lying around. So, if money or valuables or prescriptions seem to go missing in your home, or your child is asking to borrow more than usual this may be a red flag.

Problems with Family

Among all the ups and downs of a child learning to become an independent young adult, one of the most frustrating is the disagreements and fall-outs with parents and those in the family. Heightened and unexplained anger, paranoia, blaming others for problems, and an overly emphasized amount of time alone or out of the house means serious business. Wanting to be alone, isolated, withdrawn, or silent is an indicator that something is wrong.

Psychological Signs of Substance Abuse

Mood Swings

True, mood swings are just part of the changes that come with puberty, but the keyword here is DRAMATIC mood changes. Is your child suddenly irritable for no good reason? Often they will develop a lack of interest in things they previously enjoyed that appears out of the blue.

Everybody reacts differently to drugs, but watch for the two extremes:

  • Suddenly becoming hyperactive or exteremly agitated. Your child seems to have developed an unhealthy sense of paranoia, irrational fears, and anxiety.
  • A sudden loss of motivations and inability to focusRelated to mood swings is a sudden or dramatic change in sleeping habits or appetite.

If you feel like there is an unexplained, abrupt change in attitude or in personality, it may be time to intervene.

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You are not alone!

Raising children is difficult, no one will contest that. Second guessing yourself becomes second nature. Sometimes taking the time to second guess your teens odd behavior could have critical, and perhaps even deadly consequences. When you see questionable behavior out of your already moody teen, it can lead you to wonder “How can I tell if my teen is using drugs or alcohol?

Thankfully, according to a 2016 report teen drug and alcohol use are declining. Sadly though it was reported that still nearly 40% of teens had “been drunk” within the year. When these substance use and drug abuse behaviors touch your household, the effects can be devastating. Knowing where to turn and who to trust for youth care in Utah can be confusing. Lifeline for Youth can help families overcome the crisis of substance abuse, depression, and provide restorative addiction treatment for teens and their families.

Hiding a drug habit involves a lot of subterfuge so we thought you might appreciate a little help with some of the more popular slang that exists:

DRUG SLANG 101:
• Dexing: Abusing cough syrup.
• Triple C: This stands for Coricidin HBP Cough and Cold.
• Special K: Ketamine – a medication used as an anesthetic in humans and animals.
• Crank: The stimulant methamphetamine.
• Antifreeze: Heroin.
• Crunk: This is a verb that means to get high and drunk at the same time.
• Snow: Cocaine.
• X: Ecstasy or 3,4-Methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA).

For a more detailed list of drug slang, download it here: dea-drug-slang-code-words-may2017

So, what do I do now?

Bringing up the topic of alcohol or drug use with your teen as soon as possible is important, but should never be done before you are prepared to do so, while you are angry, or while your child is under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Check out this article for some great tips on how to effectively communicate with your teen.

If you and your child have an open line of communication already, talk with them about the issues they are facing to determine if they need therapy or support. Remember, just because your child is using drugs or alcohol doesn’t automatically mean you are a bad parent or that your child is a bad kid. So, do your best to set your personal feelings to the side while you discuss the issues with your child.

There are many reasons teenagers begin using drugs or alcohol. Some begin using them as a coping mechanism to help deal with unpleasant feelings such as anger, depression, boredom, anxiety, trauma, or confusion. Drugs and alcohol are often used to simply escape the problems they face related to simply growing up. If anyone else in the family uses drugs or alcohol, research shows teenagers are more likely to experiment with them themselves. Family members are role models for children, whether it’s good or bad. Even if family members do not use drugs or alcohol, teenagers are also influenced by their environment and most especially by their peers.

"Bringing up the topic of alcohol or drug use with your teen...should never be done...while you are angry, or while your child is under the influence...."

LifeLine for Youth

Talking with your Teen

Once you are ready to talk with your adolescent, about using drugs or alcohol, don’t be afraid to be yourself. They need to understand that you are the parent and you are trying to look out for their best because you love them. Let them know you are truly concerned while also helping them understand that you want to support them and help them with any issues they may be facing. Never beat around the bush, though, because that may cause confusion and give them a way out of admitting their problems with drugs and/or alcohol.

It is very possible that your teen may react angrily. It is only natural for anyone to put up walls immediately to keep from having discussions that may be hard. Continue talking with your teen though, so they can be assured you are looking out for their best. It is likely you will need to use outside support to help your teen and family deal with the substance abuse. If your child is willing to move forward with help, it is important to have a treatment center ready immediately to get them on the road to recovery.

Check out our article about how to talk with your teen.

Parents, we want you to know that Life Line for Youth is there if know or suspect your teen has drug addiction or behavioral issues and you need help. We’re here to lend a hand with supportive youth care to help repair the damage done when families don’t know where to turn. Each child deserves a chance, each family deserves a future. Contact us today for more information

Each child deserves a chance! Each family deserves a future. Reach out to us today!

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