Substance Use

  • Parents often times struggle to find reliable sources of information and support related to mental health and substance use concerns. This can be compounded by the complicated and rapidly changing landscape that is our world today. It is important that a parent has accurate and up-to-date information with which to make important decisions to support our children’s health and development.

    Parents may wonder what constitutes a substance abuse problem and when use becomes a concern. Some parents will think back to their own experiences as a reference point for determining if they should worry about behavior their child is engaging in. However, many substances have changed over the years. Science has evolved as well, and we have much more reliable gauges to measure the potency and toxicity of substances. Much has changed also in regard to our awareness of brain development and the brain’s ability to tolerate a variety of assaults.

    How Does the Brain Become Addicted?

    In the short clip that follows, Dr. Nora Volkow of the National Institute of Drug Abuse summarizes some of the brain science emerging in the field of addiction studies.

    tedtalk

    Adolescence brings special vulnerabilities regarding the impact of substance use. This is true in part due to the physiological changes as well as the developmental tasks of adolescence. Substance use during the adolescent years can have a long term negative impact, carrying on into adulthood. For this reason, it is imperative that parents recognize the warning signs of adolescent substance abuse and have resources to intervene to support the particular needs of their child.

    Per the National Institute of Drug Abuse, “adolescence is a period of dramatic brain development in which children are exposed to all sorts of experiences. Yet, our understanding of precisely how these experiences interact with each other and a child’s biology to affect brain development and, ultimately, social, behavioral, health, and other outcomes, is still incomplete. As the only study of its kind, the ABCD study will yield critical insights into the foundational aspects of adolescence that shape a person’s future.”

    brain study

    How can I tell if my teen is abusing any mind or mood altering substance?

    Adolescence brings special vulnerabilities regarding the impact of substance use. This is true in part due to the physiological changes as well as the developmental tasks of adolescence. Substance use during the adolescent years can have a long term negative impact, carrying on into adulthood. For this reason, it is imperative that parents recognize the warning signs of adolescent substance abuse and have resources to intervene to support the particular needs of their child.

    SIgns and Symptoms of Adolescent Drug Use

    How can I support my recovering teen who is transitioning to a college environment?

    According to the Association for Recovery in Higher Education, “A collegiate recovery program (CRP) is a College or University-provided, supportive environment within the campus culture that reinforces the decision to engage in a lifestyle of recovery from substance use. It is designed to provide an educational opportunity alongside recovery support to ensure that students do not have to sacrifice one for the other.”

    collegiate recovery

    National Website Resources

    Love First – Intervention Support

    The National Institute on Drug Abuse

    National Institute for Drug Abuse for Teens

    Partnership for Drug Free Kids

    Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration

    Community Resources for Substance Abuse Assessment and Support

    Barrington Youth and Family Service

    FAIR Counseling - Families and Adolescents in Recovery (FAIR)

    Family Service Association of Greater Elgin Area

    Family Recovery Centers - Substance Abuse and Mental Health Support

    OMNI Youth Services

    Rosecrance -Adolescent Substance Abuse and Mental Health Support