Today’s youth are growing up in a competitive culture with a huge emphasis on perfection and there is no denying the correlation between perfection and the rise in drugs and alcohol abuse. Success is defined by their appearance and performance, and the standards are nearly impossible to meet. It’s natural for parents and teachers to want to push adolescents to succeed and it comes from good intentions, but these attempts can often backfire. Pressure and perfectionism can contribute to teenage drug abuse; substance abuse centers are filled with adolescent clients who tried to cope with the pressure to succeed by turning to drugs and alcohol abuse. Understanding the relationship between this generation’s quest for perfection and an increased risk of drugs and alcohol abuse may help you guide your loved one through a challenging time in their lives.
Drugs and Alcohol Abuse Vs. Perfectionism
What causes this perfection obsessed generation to turn to drugs or alcohol? Stress is one of the most significant factors. When a teen believes they’re not meeting their parents’ standards or reaching their academic goals, unhealthy stress levels can develop. Some stress may be a result of comparing themselves with their peers, while additional pressure may come from teachers, parents and coaches. Over time, this unrelenting pressure to achieve can lead to feelings of failure and despair. Drugs and alcohol act as a way to “run away” from the pressure and escape their feelings, and it doesn’t take long to become addicted to a substance. In a recovery center, drug programs put a spotlight on the issues of pressure and low self-esteem, and they help their addicted clients learn how to deal with stress in more constructive ways.
Know the Signs of Drug Addiction
It’s easy to write off the signs of substance abuse as part of the ups and downs of adolescence, but catching a drug or alcohol problem in the early stages can make treatment easier. Sudden changes in a teen’s interests or behavior are hallmark signs of substance abuse: an abrupt decline in their grades, a new set of friends or a lack of interest in extracurricular activities. Certain mental and physical changes can also indicate a problem:
· Sudden changes in mood
· Significant weight loss
· Bloodshot eyes
· Problems with coordination
· Slurred speech
· Changes in sleep patterns
When these symptoms are combined with abrupt changes in behavior or suspicious requests for money, it makes sense to consider that the teen might be suffering from a drug or alcohol problem.
Finding the Best Therapy for Substance Abuse
If you’ve noticed the signs of drug addiction in your loved one, it’s important to understand that this isn’t just a harmless phase. Without treatment, substance abuse can have serious physical and personal consequences. Outpatient or inpatient substance abuse treatment can help an addict break free of addiction and get their life back on track before irreparable harm is done. At an addiction center, clients receive the drug or alcohol help they need, and they will develop the coping skills necessary to avoid relapse in the future. For some addicts, underlying emotional or psychological issues may also be fueling their drug abuse; the programs available at mental health treatment centers can address these issues and provide the proper treatment.
If you or someone you care about could benefit from outpatient addiction treatment, contact Discovery Transitions today at 1 (866) 916-3211 to speak with an addiction counselor. We can provide information about the treatment programs at our intensive outpatient addiction treatment center and answer any questions you might have about your addiction and recovery.