When the average layperson hears the word “cocaine,” various images come to mind. Perhaps Johnny Depp’s performance in Blow sparks a reminder of the way in which drug use is intermixed with the Hollywood lifestyle.
Others may hear the word “cocaine” and immediately envision the carb-starved woman sniffing white powder in the bathroom of a restaurant. Regardless of the image that crops up for people, the bottom line is that cocaine is a dangerous, illicit drug.
Teen Treatment Types
While a son or daughter is traversing the teenage years, parents are still an integral part of their daily routine. Thus, signs of addiction are likely to be picked up, hopefully in the earliest stages of a cocaine addiction. When parents suspect that an addiction is underlying their teens’ unusual behavior and demeanor, parents should seek counseling and advice immediately. Taking action against the disease of addiction is important. Barring treatment, young cocaine addicts risk long-term damage to their brains, bodies, and overall stability. The sooner cocaine treatment help is sought, the more poignantly the damaging effects can be mitigated.
Teens abusing cocaine are at a greater risk of:
- Complications from sexual promiscuity, such as sexually transmitted diseases and/or unplanned pregnancy
- Decreased performance in school and sports as compared to their peers who don’t use drugs
- Lasting emotional problems such as difficulty expressing sadness when appropriate
Not surprisingly, cocaine contributes to a great deal of drug-related injuries, car collisions, and deaths, particularly in young adults. The US government’s national website on drug abuse cites recent studies:
“In 2007, according to the NSDUH, nearly 1.6 million Americans met Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders criteria for dependence or abuse of cocaine (in any form) in the past 12 months. Further, data from the 2005 Drug Abuse Warning Network (DAWN) report showed that cocaine was involved in 448,481 of the total 1,449,154 visits to emergency departments for drug misuse or abuse. This translates to almost one in three drug misuse or abuse emergency department visits (31 percent) that involved cocaine.”
There is one positive statistic to note. Evidently, crack cocaine use has declined among teenagers in grades 8th through 12th. For adults, cocaine abuse has shown no shift either way between the years of 2001 and 2008.
What to do with your Teen
When a teen is addicted to cocaine, surrounding family and friends virtually always become baffled, upset, and confused. A parent of a cocaine addict may experience anxiety and feel discouraged about what steps to take; in some cases, the parents blame themselves. Such a tendency is natural but not necessary. For the family members and friends whose lives have been drastically impacted by cocaine, treatment can provide a bright bulb of light in a time of darkness.
In general, treatment programs designed to treat the early stages of the long term effects of drug addiction emphasize the importance of sustainable change.
In order to stay the course of sobriety, many teen addicts must commit to lasting changes, such as:
- Removing one or more toxic “friends” from their social circle, particularly those who they have drank or used with the most frequently.
- Avoiding hot spots and familiar locations in which the teen addict has historically bought and used cocaine.
- Sustaining a regular therapy schedule. Beyond the scope of treatment, the teen addict must work on actively fostering a paradigm shift in behavior and/or environment. Old habits die hard, and the teen addict must employ consistent contrary action to keep from falling back into self-destructive patterns.
- Expressing needs to family members and friends in an assertive but not confrontational manner. Clear expression and communication are imperative when the addict deals with individuals who have historically enabled the teen addict or with whom the addict has engaged in codependent tendencies. Setting interpersonal boundaries is one of the key components of a successful recovery program.
- Remaining accountable and transparent. When and if the teen addict begins to fall off course and show “red flags” indicating a potential relapse, such as increased lying, deceit, or failing to meet obligations, he must accept guidance from others who will step up to the plate. Such friends and loved ones are invested in the teen addict’s recovery and desire to keep the cocaine addict in check, redirecting the addict’s path.
- Continuing to talk to, visit, and accept advice from a sponsor. Teen cocaine addicts, as well as adult cocaine addicts, are encouraged to find a sponsor in whom to instill trust. Such an individual will guide the teen addict through the 12 steps of recovery. An ideal sponsor has several years of a sober, clean career under his or her belt and works a solid program. A teen addict’s sponsor must be someone who the teen can relate to in more than one way, ensuring that the cocaine addicts feels comfortable conversing with and opening up to the sponsor. In the best possible scenario, the sponsor is an integral part of the teen cocaine addict’s daily life and continued sobriety.
Through treatment, teen cocaine addicts can recover from the disease of cocaine addiction. Teens will learn healthy coping mechanisms and ways to deal with stress that do not involve drugs. Group therapy sessions, individualized therapy, and many other avenues toward recovery will boost the teen’s levels of contentment, happiness, and self-esteem.
Parents can be an integral part of a teen’s journey toward a sober, clean life, as they simply want to see the teen be healthy and happy.