5 Things A Counselor Can Teach A Teenager Abusing Substances

You love your child and would do anything to help them stop hurting themselves, but sometimes, substance abuse calls for professional intervention. Counselors and clinics can do what you only wish the love and guidance you offer could.

1. The True Consequences Of Abusing Substances

Maybe the message you're trying to get across regarding the dangers of substance abuse simply aren't getting through; however, a counselor knows how to penetrate the stubborn defenses a teen puts up and how to inform them, in no uncertain terms, of the true effects of drug and alcohol abuse. Drugs and alcohol can ruin their chances of completing high school, getting into college, maintaining the mental and physical health needed to emerge unscathed from the teenage years and so much more. 

2. The Benefits Of Being Free From Substance Abuse

On the opposite side of the addiction and abuse coin is sobriety, which comes with more benefits than a troubled teen may know. If your child is using to escape or self-medicate, they're actually crying out for help. A counselor can help uncover the hidden reasons they're using, and once you solve those underlying issues, their life can become so much better. You may or may not know what's driving your child's actions, but counseling, along with perhaps a clinic for adolescent substance abuse, could be the keys to unlocking the solutions needed.

3. Self-Confidence To Resist Peer-Pressure

Your teen may have problems with body-confidence, self-worth, choosing friends that are positive influences, questions about their sexuality, fears about growing up and doubts about their ability to fit in at school or even pass to the next grade. These are heavy issues that bear down on a person's judgment, often leading them to surrender to peer pressure. Your teen may try drugs or alcohol because doing so is the only thing that makes them feel connected to other kids they admire. 

Once your child has more self-confidence, which a counselor can accomplish, they should feel strong enough to resist doing what they know is wrong and smart enough to rely on themselves for what they need to get through tough days at school and beyond. The ability to resist peer pressure comes from a belief in self that many teens, through no fault of their parents, are lacking.

4. Methods Of Coping With The Anxiety Of Being A Teenager

There may be specific reasons your child has turned to substance abuse, such as depression and/or anxiety, both of which a counselor could help with. Cognitive behavioral therapy, for example, is effective at managing the anxiety that often spurs a person (adults included) to reaching for a drink or drug. Psychodynamic therapy might also be beneficial, as it addresses impulses, especially those manifested deep within the unconscious mind, bringing to light their origins and helping a person to better control them. 

No matter what type of therapy is chosen for your teen, speaking with a counselor about general anxiety and possible depression would be a giant leap forward. They need to learn how to cope with their mixed emotions, apprehensions and other overwhelming feelings. Conquering fear and anxiety takes time, but in the long run, doing so may strengthen your child for life.

5. Trust

Although it's considered a normal rite of passage for a teenager to lose trust in and rebel against authority figures, such as the staff at school and their parents, they have to trust someone, especially when trying to navigate their way out of the maze of drug or alcohol use. A counselor is someone your kid can confide in and, eventually, learn to trust. If a child feels as if they can't trust any adult in their life, they're leading a very lonely and likely dangerous existence. 

Substance abuse professionals can help your teen come clean. Don't wait too long to call for help.

To learn more, contact a resource like LifeLine For Youth