Teen Drug Abuse
Many addictions develop from drug abuse that starts during adolescence. The teenage brain is still developing, increasing the risk of addiction.
Teenage Drug Abuse and Addiction
Teens who abuse drugs may have a greater risk of developing an addiction when they are adults. It’s important to know the difference between drug abuse and addiction. Many teens experiment with drugs, but aren’t addicted. Teen drug abuse can have long-term cognitive and behavioral effects due to the continued development of the teenage brain.
Teen Drug Experimentation
Half of all new drug users are under the age of 18. Experimentation plays the biggest role in teenage drug use. However, experimentation is a fact of life and just because a teen has tried drugs or alcohol doesn’t mean they will become an addict. It’s more important to understand why some teens are tempted to experiment.
Common reasons teens abuse drugs include:
- Peer pressure
- Emotional struggles
- A desire to escape
Signs of Teen Drug Abuse
There are many signs that a teen is using drugs. It can be difficult to tell the difference between the pangs of adolescence and actual drug use, but parents can be proactive in talking to their teen to find out what’s going on.
Some common signs of teen drug abuse include:
- Bad grades
- Bloodshot eyes
- Laughing for no reason
- Loss of interest in activities
- Poor hygiene
- Diminished personal appearance
- Avoiding eye contact
- Frequent hunger or “munchies”
- Smell of smoke on breath or clothes
- Secretive behavior
- Unusual tiredness
- Missing curfew
It’s up to parents to initiate a conversation with their children if they suspect drug use. The best way to get a teen to communicate about their drug use is by asking compassionate and understanding questions. Responding to a teen’s admittance or denial of drug use in the right away is just as important as asking the right questions.
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If a teen admits to taking drugs:
Parents shouldn’t overreact if their teen comes clean about using drugs. Overreacting or lashing out can cause a teen to clam about their experience. Getting teens to talk is important to determine if their drug use was a one-time thing or if it’s becoming a problem.
Parents should explain how they care about their child and the child’s future. Teens that feel supported and loved are also more likely to stop experimenting with drugs or seek help if they have an addiction.
If a teen denies drug use:
Naturally, there is a possibility that teens may lie about their drug use. Parents should reassure their child that they are concerned and want to help. If a teen continues denying using drugs but the parent still suspects untruthfulness, a home drug test or professional help can uncover a teen drug problem. Therapists, pediatricians, and addiction specialists can help diagnose a teen drug problem.
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Common Drugs that Teens Abuse
The most common drugs abused by teens aren’t much different from those of adults. But the reasons for abuse may be different as teens often abuse a substance based on its accessibility. Teens are also more likely to take excessive amounts of drugs and alcohol because of how they perceive the risks and dangers.
- Prescriptions and Over-the-counter Medications
Addiction Treatment for Teens
Many teens have a tough time dealing with issues common during adolescence. It is understandable that they may think having a drink or a little marijuana can offer relief. The best way to deal with stress, however, is to seek emotional support or find someone to talk to.
If a teen has already tried quitting or reducing use and failed, then it’s important to receive treatment as soon as possible. There are treatment centers designated for teens that target the emotional and social issues that led to their drug use.
Get help finding treatment for teenage addiction today.