Sunday, July 24, 2011

When is it Time For Inpatient Treatment?

Your teenager needs inpatient treatment for his addiction if his use is life-threatening, or if he is suicidal or has a serious mental illness, or if he just can't stop without going to an inpatient facility. Inpatient facilities -where the patients stay 24 hours a day, 7 days a week - are naturally more intensive, and can monitor your teenager in a way no clinic can possibly match. "Life-threatening" is of course sometimes a subjective term, but if your teenager cannot stop using cocaine, that would be a good time to consider inpatient treatment, given the lethality of that drug. And if your teenager hints at or even acts out at being suicidal, an inpatient stay will probably necessary to secure his safety. Also, if your teenager just can't stop using his drug of choice, even if it is marijuana, then an inpatient stay will likely be necessary. Teenagers often say that they don't want to go to inpatient treatment, since nothing external will change when they return home. That is true: the pressures of school, drug-and-alcohol using friends, and the vagaries of adolescent  adjustments will not have changed. But your teenager will have changed, gaining new strategies for refusing and moving ahead with a drug and alcohol- free life. Inpatient isn't perfect, nor is it usually curative of addiction. But it can safeguard your teenager's well being and start him on the road to sobriety!

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Synthetic Marijuana and Your Teenager

Your teenager may come across a variety of substances known as "synthetic Marijuana," the most common being Salvia and K2. Marketed to teens on the Internet, in head shops, and gasoline stations, these substances look and act like marijuana, but (some) are technically legal. Some of the substances are packaged like marijuana, and some are powders that can be smoked on a cigarette. Recently, the DEA banned the most common 5 drugs in this category, but others will likely take their place. Since these   drugs are so different from each other, their effects are quite different, but you should look for hallucinations, "out-of-body" experiences, dizziness, slurred speech, and paranoia. If your teenager displays these symptoms, you should get help from an addictions specialist immediately. The argument that the substances are technically legal is just plain silly: the legality or illegality of a particular substance has no bearing on the danger it poses to your teenager.