"My teenage daughter was caught a while back with synthetic weed and admitted to drinking. She stole merchandise from stores and the 3 girls she is friends with have and continue to do all of these things. She has snuck out of the house in the middle of the night for hours on end with and without friends. We punished our daughter for a while , gave her back her phone tonight with rules and had her sign a contract that she won't engage in these activities and and she is currently limited to only seeing these friends at school. Although she said she won't do these negative things anymore because she doesn't want to lose her phone, she admitted to us that she misses smoking/drinking because it made her happier. My daughter sees a Psychologist. We are very concerned ........"
Usually I don't answer questions from adults, since this website is all about teens and for teens, but there are some things I want teens to know that this question brings up.
- This teen is really smart to recognize that she uses smoking and drinking to make herself feel better. A lot of times when teens use different substances, especially repeatedly, there is something underneath that is causing the problem. There can be untreated depression or anxiety or other mental illness that is increasing the desire to "medicate yourself" with illegal and/or unhealthy substances.
- Which gets me to: get the treatment you need. Get therapy. Go talk to a counselor. Take your medicine if you need it. There is no shame in having depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder. Mental illness does not define you - it is a part of you, like having diabetes, or asthma...
- Parents. Really. Care. They may annoy you that they freak out about things, but it usually comes from a good place. There is nothing more than a parent wants than for his or her child to be happy and healthy. We freak out about certain things because we KNOW the stakes are high! Parents can always learn better ways to communicate with teens, but teens can alway practice good communication with parents too. Counselors and therapists can help parents and teens find a healthy way to communicate with each other.
- Exposing the teen brain to chemicals like alcohol and weed and nicotine and other drugs while all those brain nerves are making connections (which happens until you are in your 20's!) increases the risk of addiction for teens. Does addiction run in your family? Or mental illness? Pay attention to these things since they increase your risk of the same.
- I saw a quote that I love that I think is important for teens to think about (Choose your friends wisely):
NIDA For Teens : This website is written for teens and has all sorts of accurate and easy to understand info about drugs and addiction. There is a cool blog and links to ways to get help. There is even a place to see how to get help for yourself, a friend, a parent or other people in your life - HERE
OK, teens, any experiences you want to share with others? Comment below! Anonymous! And, if you want to hear other teen voices right here on Real Talk, go HERE