At the beginning of the pandemic, most adolescents habituated to staying at home resulting in lowered self-esteem. As a result, their self-concept was shaken and many became self-conscious, stressed and anxious around their peers leading them to want to abuse substances or skip out on homework, explained Dr. Kim Chronister, Clinical Director of LA-based Key Transitions, a teen treatment center.
Signs of stress in teens include: Agitation-snapping at friends or family members or appearing generally irritable on a regular basis for at least 2 weeks; academic performance-poor grades or truancy; lack of interest in activities that they used to enjoy.
What can parents do to alleviate the stress? The combination of individual, family and group therapy can help distressed teens regain confidence, decrease anxiety, and lift mood which can also help them to stop abusing substances.
What can parents do if they think their teen is doing drugs or drinking alcohol?
Talk to them. It can be intimidating to broach a sensitive subject matter if you think your child is abusing drugs. Ask them how they are, how they are feeling. Point out the behavior changes and ask them why they think this is happening.
If you know your teen is doing drugs or alcohol address the behavior directly with clearly identified and understood boundaries and consequences.
Drug addiction is a chronic brain disease characterized by compulsive or uncontrollable drug seeking and use despite harmful consequences. It is considered a brain disease because drugs change the brain—in structure and function—and those brain changes can be long-lasting and lead to increased vulnerability to other addictions.
The facts about drug addiction are scary! According to government data, two-thirds of teens in the US drink alcohol before getting into their senior years in high school. More than half of the teen respondents admitted using an illegal drug. The respondents also revealed that they had abused prescription drugs by using them recreationally.
Dr. Kim Chronister is a licensed clinical psychologist appointed to lead the Los Angeles-based teen treatment service, Key Transitions. She has authored the books, FitMentality and PEAK MINDSET, along with appearing in a number of media outlets including Access Hollywood, NBC News and Investigation Discovery (ID) and speaking events where she helps raise awareness of adolescent mental health and substance abuse issues. She is the ideal fit to lead an organization that is helping teens and parents alike with psychological assessments and finding the help they need to not only inform themselves on the issues, but with looking for answers.
Key Transitions (www.keytransitions.com) is an adolescent treatment program that offers help with substance abuse issues plaguing families in the United States. With psychological services, mentorship programs, and sober living communities, Key Transitions is one of the best places for parents to turn if there are any signs that their child may be coping with the new normal in unhealthy and sometimes illegal ways that may undermine their future once the veil has lift.
Dr. Chronister joins Mark for this important discussion. You can hear it here: