Often even the most emotionally reticent teens connect with holiday wonder. It is, indeed, the most wonderful time of the year (or it is supposed to be, according to the song and the hyper-energetic festivity).
The holidays are likely to look far different this year, with Covid lurking around. Many of us are changing our plans and scaling back holiday gatherings, postponing trips to see family and friends, all in the name of safe social distancing practices. These are the wise choices we are making to keep ourselves and our loved ones safe, but that doesn’t make it fun.
Impact of Covid Holiday on Teens
Even if your teen isn’t saying it openly, the shift in traditional festivities is likely impacting them emotionally. Teens who are already prone to depression and anxiety may feel the affect of these changes with greater depth but may not have the ability to articulate it.
What to Look For
If you are worried about your teen’s emotional health this holiday season, here are some things to pay attention to that may indicate internal struggle.
Sometimes anxiety and depressive symptoms aren’t outwardly noticeable and can impact your teen. A depressed or anxious teen might also be experiencing:
Ask any group of parents about their fears for their teenager and you will get a zillion different responses. There are plenty of things to worry about when it comes to teens (we earn these gray hairs, afterall). Out of the long list of issues parents worry about, substance abuse is certainly in the top five. Some parents may worry a lot about their teen’s drug and alcohol use, while others tend to think about substance use as a rite of passage, and as a result may be less concerned about it. Regardless of where we stand on the topic, it can be helpful to understand more about substance use so we can be proactive and compassionate with kids who may be struggling.
Facts About Teen Substance Abuse
Ten million people between the ages of 12 and 29 need treatment for substance abuse. Understanding drug and alcohol use patterns in teens is important because most people who later struggle with addiction start at a young age, some as young as 12 or 13 years old.
The graphic above shows varying types of street drugs teens typically abuse, but the number one substance teens access is alcohol. One study shows that an alarming 4.3 million youth report binge drinking within the past month.
Often, we feel at a loss as to how to protect our kids from the detrimental effects of substances. We hear stories about teen overdose deaths, sexual assaults that are committed during intoxication, car accidents, legal involvement and so on.
Talley Webb, MA, CRMC