Addiction in Teenage Girls: Facing the Truth Is Hard for Parents
Addiction in teenage girls has become increasingly pervasive, affecting countless families in every community. Despite society’s acceptance of teen alcohol and drug use, research proves that the resulting addiction can have lifelong consequences. Read on to learn more about this growing problem and how you can protect your child.
The Disturbing Numbers
Alcohol and drug use are prevalent among adolescents and teens today. In fact, current research demonstrates that more than 80 percent of kids and teens ages 12 to 20 have used alcohol in the past month.
Certainly the older demographics in this statistic skew the average; however, 10 percent of 12-year-olds have had alcohol, and that number doubles by age 13. At age 15, half have experimented with drinking. For girls, those numbers are increasing dramatically. Alcohol use among teenage girls has increased 11 percent in just one year.
Although drug abuse is less common, marijuana use in teen girls has increased significantly. Fewer girls indicate their social disapproval for illegal drug use than ever before, and a startling number report they don’t believe marijuana or Ecstasy are addictive.
The Peril of Mixed Messages
Alcohol use has long been viewed by many people as a rite of passage in the teenage years. Many parents look the other way or tolerate this behavior, as long as their children don’t get in trouble.
Some go so far as to advocate consumption as long as it’s done in the home, and may even supply alcohol to their kids and their kids’ friends. This practice is not only dangerous, but it’s also illegal throughout the United States.
The developing teen brain is extremely vulnerable to the impulse gratification provided by drinking and drug use. The earlier dependence and addiction develop, the greater the odds it will persist throughout the child’s lifetime. In fact, for every year the onset of alcohol use is delayed, your child has a 14 percent better chance of avoiding dependence and addiction. No matter what society’s view of the subject may be, the statistics are clear: Drinking and drug use during the teenage years puts your child’s life at risk.
Talk to Your Daughter before It’s Too Late
The popularity and social acceptance of drinking and using drugs means that your child will have access to these substances at some point, no matter how careful you are. When that time comes, ensure that she is informed enough to make the right choices.
Experts recommend being inquisitive with your child rather than accusatory. Establish ground rules for effective communication and learn to listen. And most importantly, hold your child accountable for her actions.
Once addictive behaviors have been established, the problem becomes much more difficult. Experts suggest that a minimum of three months in treatment is necessary to reduce or stop substance abuse, although longer treatment may be required to discourage relapse.
Havenwood Academy helps families of girls and young women cope with addiction and substance abuse issues. Contact us today to learn more about how our residential treatment approach can help your family. Our proven therapeutic programs use effective intervention strategies to promote recovery and success when treating addiction in teenage girls.