• alcohol-drug-children

    Adversity will surface in every life. How we meet it makes the difference.

    - Marvin J. Ashton

  • Child Alcohol and Drug Abuse

    Experimentation with alcohol and drugs during adolescence is common. Unfortunately, teenagers often don’t see the link between today’s actions  and  tomorrow’s consequences. They also have a tendency to feel indestructible and immune to the problems that others experience.

    Using alcohol and tobacco at a young age has negative health effects. While some teens will experiment and stop, or continue to use occasionally without significant problems, others will develop a dependency, moving on to more dangerous drugs and causing significant harm to themselves and possibly others. It is difficult to know which teens will experiment and stop and which will develop serious problems.

    Teenagers at risk for developing serious alcohol and drug problems include:

    • with a family history of substance abuse
    • who are depressed
    • who have low self-esteem, and
    • who feel like they don’t fit in or are out of the mainstream

    Teenagers abuse a variety of drugs, both legal and illegal. Legally available drugs include alcohol, prescribed medications, inhalants (fumes from glues, aerosols, and solvents) and over-the-counter cough, cold, sleep, and diet medications. The most commonly used illegal drugs are marijuana (pot), stimulants (cocaine, crack, and speed), LSD, PCP, opiates, heroin, and designer drugs (Ecstasy). The use of illegal drugs is increasing, especially among young teens. The average age of first marijuana use is 14, and alcohol use can start before age 12. The use of marijuana and alcohol in high school has become common.

    Drug use is associated with a variety of negative consequences, including increased risk of serious drug use later in life, school failure, and poor judgment which may put teens at risk for accidents, violence, unplanned and unsafe sex, and suicide.

    Parents can prevent their children from using drugs by talking to them about drugs, encouraging open communication, role modeling, responsible behavior, and recognizing if problems may be developing.

    Warning signs of teenage alcohol and drug abuse may include:

    • Physical: fatigue, repeated health complaints, red and glazed eyes, and a lasting cough.
    • Emotional: personality change, sudden mood changes, irritability, irresponsible behavior, low self-esteem, poor judgment, depression, and a general lack of interest.
    • Family: starting arguments, breaking rules, or withdrawing from the family.
    • School: decreased interest, negative attitude, a drop in grades, many absences, truancy, and discipline problems.
    • Social problems: new friends who are less interested in standard home and school activities, problems with the law, and changes to less conventional styles in dress and music.

    Some of the warning signs listed above can also be signs of other problems. Parents may recognize signs of troubles and possible abuse of alcohol and other drugs with their teenager. If you have concerns you may want to consult a physician to rule out physical causes of the warning signs. This should often be followed or accompanied by a comprehensive evaluation by a child and adolescent psychiatrist or mental health professional.

    Learn more about child alcohol and drug abuse

    Call 301.984.9791 to contact us, discuss your needs and schedule an appointment. Our experienced professionals look forward to meeting you.

    Our offices are conveniently accessible from the following communities:

    Maryland (MD):
    Bethesda 20814 - Bethesda 20816 - Bethesda 20817 - Chevy Chase 20815 - Colesville 20904 - Cabin John 20815 - Glen Echo 20812 - Gaithersburg 20855 - Gaithersburg 20877- Gaithersburg 20878 - Gaithersburg 20879 - Garrett Park 20896 - Kensington 20895 - Montgomery Village 20886 - Olney 20830 - Olney 20832 - Potomac 20854 - Potomac 20859 - Rockville 20850 - Rockville 20852 - Rockville 20853 - Silver Spring 20903 - Silver Spring 20905 - Silver Spring 20906 - Silver Spring 20910 - Takoma Park 20912 - Wheaton 20902

    Washington DC:
    Crestwood 20011- North Capitol Hill 20002 - Cathedral Heights 20016 - American University Park 20016 - Columbia Heights 20010 - Mount Pleasant 20010 - Downtown 20036 - Dupont Circle 20009 - Logan Circle 20005- Adams Morgan 20009 - Chevy Chase 20015 - Georgetown 20007 - Cleveland Park 20008 - Foggy Bottom 20037 - Rock Creek Park - Woodley Park 20008 - Tenleytown 20016

    Northern Virginia:
    McLean 22101- McLean 22102 - McLean 22106 - Great Falls 22066 - Arlington 22201 - Arlington 22202 - Arlington 22203 - Arlington 22205 - Falls Church 22041 - Vienna 22181 - Alexandria 22314