As a psychiatrist that specializes in addiction (including teenage alcoholism and teenage drug abuse), I am amazed at how lax some parents are about teenage substance abuse. As every one who has raised a teen knows, it is the age where your child asserts his independence, and pushes back when you lay down the law. It is imperative that your "troubled youth" doesn’t become the boss of YOU or your teen WILL continue to abuse drugs and alcohol. Here’s an example of a teenage substance abuse case:

J.T. is 15 years old and he refuses to get out of bed to go to school. He stays up late smoking pot and is too tired, by his report, to get up in the morning. J.T is also depressed. He smokes marijuana daily and on weekends. Like many others he participates in underage drinking. He performs poorly in school.

J.T. has already been to a therapeutic boarding school and has done very well. However, he returned to his environment at home where he knows how to get his way. His parents are at their wits end. They yell at him with no results. The parents fight about how to handle the situation. However, when I question the parents, I am astounded to find out that J.T. still has his car, his cell phone, and computer.

He has had no serious consequences to his addictive behavior (underage drinking and teenage drug abuse)! He tells me he loves smoking pot and has no plans of stopping! I can help his depression with medication (assuming he stops using alcohol and marijuana) and I can address some of his addiction issues in therapy. However, the key to his treatment is working with the family on how to change their tactics with him or he will continue his teenage substance abuse.
How can J.T.’s parents help their addicted teen? Here are 7 Tips:

1) His parents must make him accountable for his actions. For example, if he doesn’t get up for school on time, he loses his car, cell phone, and computer.

2) If he continues to choose to smoke pot and drink, he loses the same three things.

3) His parents should test him for drugs and alcohol on a random basis (you can do this by getting a kit and breathalyzer at any pharmacy).

4) His parents should type up a contract, have a family meeting, and every one sign the contract.

5) Taking their son, who is clearly a troubled youth, for professional help (which his parents did) can be very beneficial. If any underlying anxiety and depression is treated, he has a better chance of maintaining sobriety. Also, a psychiatrist can “detox” him if necessary.

6) His parents should start going to Al-Anon meetings or Families Anonymous meetings to get support and help from others going through a similar experience.

7) His parents should address their family dynamic with a therapist or psychiatrist and work hard to make important changes.

Teenage alcoholism and teenage drug abuse are very serious. Left untreated the consequences can cost a teen’s life. Family life falls apart when dealing with teen substance abuse.

Teenage substance abuse is a family problem, not just a teen problem. Every person in the family is affected. To turn the situation around takes a big effort on every family member’s part, not just on the part of the addicted teen.

Author's Bio: 

Dr.Sarita Uhr is a psychiatrist that specializes in alcoholism and addiction.

If you think you have a teen or young adult child with a drug or alcohol problem, click the link to sign up for her free report on, " How To Avoid The 5 Biggest Mistakes Parents Make With Their Addicted Teen Or Young Adult Child”."

It may save your family's life. Dr. Uhr's method has stunning results.