To a parent, few things can be more devastating than harm to your child. When it comes in the form of self-harm, such as in drug abuse, it can be alarming, like being on a sinking ship. You can learn to recognize the signs of drug use in teens and young people and get needed help and care to right the course.
Here’s what you need to know.
Most people, of any age, begin abusing drugs or alcohol for the same reasons. It can be as simple as boredom or curiosity. It can stem from a desire to escape physical or emotional pain or discomfort, even the emotional distress of “not fitting in” (or peer pressure). It can even be financially driven, such as when young people start dealing their medications out or dealing other drugs for money.
In working with young people, it helps to understand that they are very similar to adults, but with limited experience that can also cause short-sightedness in making decisions. Approaching a teen who may be abusing drugs is best done with kindness and understanding, instead of accusations and upsets (even if you are, understandably, upset!).
Drug use in teens can be difficult to spot. You may find drug paraphernalia or hear from a friend that they are using, but it can also be less obvious. Drug addiction can start with something as seemingly innocuous as taking more than prescribed of a prescription drug.
When you know what to look for, though, you can identify substance abuse in your teen. He or she may:
In particular, be aware of any sudden changes:
There may also be physical health signs, such as nosebleeds, headaches, weight loss, nausea and vomiting, shakes, and tremors or changes in appetite.
The first thing to know if you see any of these warning signs is that they do not necessarily mean that your teen has developed a drug addiction. There can be other reasons. Also, not all young people who experiment with drugs or alcohol will become addicted.
So don’t be alarmed, but do take action.
Start the conversation:
Fortunately, you can stop the cycle of addiction and help your teen change course. Contact us to find out how.