Being a parent in today’s world presents challenges that were unheard of in generations past. One of the reasons parents must be extra-vigilant today is the possibility of their teen abusing drugs or alcohol. Also, parents are conflicted about how to avoid crossing the thin line between being watchful without seeming intrusive or overprotective. With that in mind, we offer a watchlist of signs and symptoms of teen drug use that all parents should know.
In your quest to protect your child, keep in mind that the longer you wait to intervene, the worse their drug use will become and permanent damage to their health can occur. It’s also essential that your child knows that you will continue loving and supporting him or her during this difficult time.
Watchlist: Signs and Symptoms of Teen Drug Use
Many parents have seen some of these signs and symptoms of drug use by their child. But, they mistakenly assume that the bad moods or secretive behavior are just part of being a teen. Talk to your teen and find ways to help them cope with these painful emotions. If the behavior continues, it’s possible that drugs or alcohol are involved.
Here are some of the common signs and symptoms of teen drug use to watch for:
Failing grades, tardiness, absences
A new group of friends
Staying out later than usual
Isolation or secretive behavior
Changes in clothing style
Always needing extra money
Using air fresheners, incense, or perfume to hide odors
Evidence of using eye drops repeatedly
Increased use of mouthwash or breath mints
Evidence of inhalant abuse
Missing prescription drugs, especially painkillers
Of course, you don’t want to jump to conclusions or appear to be judgmental, but these signs are a good indication of drug use in most cases.
What Should You Do First?
If A decline that your teen is experimenting with drugs or alcohol, your first step is to consult a medical professional for a drug screening. The test will be able to determine whether your child is using substances or having other problems such as depression. The drug-screening process can include a blood or urine test in addition to consultation between your teen and the medical professional.
What are the Dangers of Teen Drug Use?
Eventually, casual drug or alcohol use can escalate into chronic, compulsive use that will lead to addiction. One of the most significant dangers of teen drug use is the chance of permanent damage to their undeveloped brain. The damage can manifest in many ways such as poor memory, trouble concentrating, diminished cognitive ability, and inability to function optimally in school or at work.
More health effects that a teen can suffer from these commonly abused drugs:
Opioids – High risk of respiratory distress and risk of death from overdose.
Inhalants – Risk of damage to the lungs, heart, liver, and kidneys.
Ecstasy – Risk of dehydration, heart failure, liver damage.
Alcohol– Binge drinking can cause blackouts, overdose, death.
In addition to the above dangers, teen drug use can include the following negative consequences:
Dependence or addiction and increased risk of drug use later in life.
Drug use by teens is associated with poor judgment in personal and social interactions.
Drug abuse can increase mental health disorders such as anxiety or depression.
High risk of unsafe sex, promiscuity, STDs, and unplanned pregnancy
Decline in academic performance, failing grades, drop-outs.
Risk of driving while impaired, automobile accidents, injuries, death.
Unfortunately, most teens believe they can try a substance once and quit when they’re ready. But, if they continue hanging with the same crowd of drug users, it’s not likely that they will quit.
Finding Solutions for Your Teen’s Drug Use
When a teen is abusing drugs, several factors are involved that led the child in this direction. Simply disposing of the drugs or keeping your teen grounded is not enough. The underlying reasons for their drug use must be addressed or they will continue seeking addictive substances.
Overall, the best approach to addressing all aspects of drug abuse or addiction is inpatient treatment. Look for a program that offers such methodologies as Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Life Skills Training, Anger Management, Moral Reconation Therapy, Mindfulness Therapy, Communication Skills, Nutritional Guidance, and Group and Individual Counseling. With this approach to addiction treatment, patients learn to develop healthier, more effective methods for dealing with daily life.
If you would like more information about teen drug use, please contact us at Best Drug Rehabilitation today. This phone call is your first step in helping your teen sober up and reach their full potential in life. We will be happy to recommend a treatment program that is right for your child’s needs.