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Teenagers have a high risk of experiencing alcohol or drug abuse. The signs and side effects of substance use disorder (SUD) often look different for adolescents and young adults. Teen substance abuse can have life-long health consequences. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), “The majority of adults who meet the criteria for having a substance use disorder started using substances during their teen and young adult years.” The Redpoint Center offers comprehensive treatment programs for teens struggling with addiction and mental health disorders. The care team helps teens get sober using evidence-based and alternative holistic treatments

How to Help Teens Get Sober

Friends and family members often recognize when teens begin to experience mental health or medical health issues. Changes in mood, temperament, behavior, and beliefs may cause tension in relationships. Teens are more likely to express themselves by socially withdrawing or becoming more aggressive if they experience emotional distress. Substance abuse may cause physical changes in the body, affecting how teens think and feel. Loved ones help teens get sober by remaining supportive, nurturing, and nonjudgmental. 

Families, educators, and community leaders assist teens in overcoming substance abuse by doing the following: 

  • Providing emotional and practical support 
  • Encouraging teens to undergo clinical assessments and get treatment
  • Providing community-based resources and support services for teens and their families 
  • Educating teens on the long-term impact of substance abuse 
  • Addressing issues putting teens at risk of substance abuse
  • Ensuring teens have a safe and nurturing home environment and a solid support system 

Parental figures have an obligation to provide support and access to resources for teens struggling with substance abuse. However, many family members don’t know how to get help for their teenagers. The Redpoint Center conducts comprehensive clinical assessments, offers family support services, and treats young adults using evidence-based methods. 

The Importance of Early Intervention and Treatment

Teens often experience more profound side effects of substance abuse due to changes caused to their still-developing bodies. Early intervention and treatment reduce long-term health risks caused by chronic substance abuse at a young age. According to the Journal of Adolescent Health, “Early interventions for adolescent substance use do hold benefits for reducing substance use and associated behavioral outcomes.” Parents or guardians can help their teen by having them undergo a clinical assessment for SUD if they believe their child may have developed addictive behaviors. 

Identifying the Signs of Substance Abuse

Recognizing the signs of substance abuse allows parents and friends to identify when a teen may benefit from professional treatment. Everyone reacts differently to substance abuse. In some cases, uncharacteristic aggression or secretive behaviors may be signs of medical conditions, not substance abuse. Normalizing conversations about mental and physical health will help teens feel more comfortable speaking up if they feel worried or confused about something they experience. 

Teens exhibit different signs of substance abuse compared to adults. Some potential signs of teen addiction include: 

  • Lack of interest in previously enjoyed activities 
  • Spending time with new social groups 
  • Unusual aggression, irritation, or angry outbursts 
  • Extreme mood swings 
  • Sleep disturbances 
  • Extreme fluctuations in energy levels 
  • Secretive behaviors or spending an unusual amount of time alone
  • Unexplained and significant weight loss 
  • Physical side effects of substance abuse, including nosebleeds, muscle tremors, or chronic watery eyes

According to, “Warning signs indicate that there may be a problem that should be looked into—not that there is definitely a problem . . . If there is no clear evidence of abuse, families should contact their primary health care physician to rule out a physical problem.” The Redpoint Center encourages families to get a clinical diagnosis before making assumptions about what may be causing their teen’s unusual behavior. 

How Does The Redpoint Center Help Teens Get Sober?

The Redpoint Center offers outpatient programs for young adults diagnosed with addiction and co-occurring mental health disorders. The care team has extensive experience helping teens and their loved ones overcome addiction. Outpatient care ensures teens have the flexibility to attend school, work, or other responsibilities while undergoing treatment for alcohol or drug abuse. Family members also benefit from family therapy, psychoeducation, and other support services offered by The Redpoint Center. 

Tailoring Treatment to Teens

Teens have different risk factors, needs, and preferences compared to adults experiencing SUD. Clinicians at The Redpoint Center use comprehensive assessments and screening tools to ensure teens receive the support they need to heal from the effects of substance abuse. 

Tailoring treatment to teens may involve multiple therapeutic modalities, including: 

  • Psychotherapy
  • Peer support
  • Self-help groups 
  • Family therapy 
  • Alternative holistic therapies

Every case is unique and has multiple contributing factors. The clinical team at The Redpoint Center collaborates closely with teens and their loved ones to determine the best approach to sobriety. Teens are provided with the skills and resources to overcome addiction and build the foundation for a healthier future. The care team uses aftercare planning to help teens maintain sobriety after they complete rehabilitation. 

Teenagers have an increased risk of developing alcohol use disorder and other forms of substance abuse. Peer pressure, family history of addiction, mental health disorders, and other risk factors may cause some teens to develop SUD. Addressing the problem early reduces the risk of long-term health issues. Parental figures can normalize conversations about mental health and addiction to ensure teens feel comfortable speaking up if they begin to experience addictive behaviors. Family involvement in the treatment process can improve the effectiveness of rehabilitation for teens. The Redpoint Center offers family support services to help teens and their loved ones successfully navigate treatment and sobriety. To learn more about our programs and services, call us today at (303) 710-8496.

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The Redpoint Center
1831 Lefthand Cir, Suite H
Longmont, CO 80501

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