By Samuel Odenthal, LMFT
Drug addiction and abuse has become common in teenagers. According to a research, teenagers who choose to abuse drugs end up getting addicted to drugs during their adulthood. Here, find out why teenagers are experimenting with drugs and some of the signs of teen drug abuse.
Drug Abuse-A Growing Menace
Drug abuse is basically experimenting with different types of drugs such as Marijuana, Prescription and Over-the-counter medications as well as Alcohol, unlike getting addicted to it. A growing number of teenagers are abusing drugs today. A survey conducted in 2014 revealed that nearly 20 % of twelfth graders in the U.S. consumed alcohol and many high school students thought that using marijuana on an occasional basis wasn’t risky at all. These figures are certainly alarming because teenagers who resort to drug abuse usually develop behavioral and cognitive problems in the long run.
Reasons behind Teen Drug Abuse
There are many reasons behind teen drug abuse. For instance, some teens like to experiment with new things in their life and as a result they give into their temptation. However, temptation alone isn’t the cause of drug abuse in teenagers. Some of the other common causes include:
- Peer pressure
- Emotional reasons and struggles
- Need for escaping
Signs to Note
Parents who are deeply concerned about their teens must keep a close watch on them and look for prominent signs of drug abuse. While, it’s extremely important that they talk to their adolescent child on a regular basis, it is also crucial that they watch out for signs such as:
- Bloodshot eyes
- Poor grades
- No interest in different activities
- No eye contacts
- Not maintaining personal hygiene and appearance
- Munchies or feeling hungry frequently
- Clothes smelling of smoke
- Unusual behavior
- Feeling unusually tired
What to do?
Parents who notice one or more signs of teen drug abuse must strike a conversation with their teens. This is crucial for preventing any further drug abuse. The ideal way to get your teen to speak about his problem is to be compassionate and patient with him/her. Parents can question their teenage daughter or son politely to determine whether they are abusing drugs and their reasons for the same. For instance, parents can ask whether they have been using alcohol or drugs or if anyone has offered drugs or alcohol to them recently. It’s equally important that parents respond to their teen’s reply appropriately. In case your teenager admits that he/she has taken drugs then you shouldn’t get angry with them or overreact. This would prevent your child from sharing his feelings with you. Additionally, parents should talk to their teens and let them know that they are truly concerned about their future.
Remember, if your child gets adequate amount of love and support, then he/she would even discontinue the use of drugs. However, if you notice that your teen isn’t giving up on drugs, then it’s only wise that you consult an addiction therapist or specialist who can diagnose and treat your teen effectively.