The adolescence or teenage period is quite overwhelming both for the child and the parents. With the sudden changes in the hormonal levels and physical structure, it is common for teens to feel different or act differently. With the onset of this “revolting” phase, parents find it hard to understand and communicate with their children. This occurs because many teens find difficulty in explaining their feelings, and some become too reserved.
Teens look for amusement and feel like experimenting with new and ‘adult stuff’ which are mostly harmful things like smoking, alcohol, drugs, etc. This dangerous experimentation sometimes leads to addiction as well. Teenage drug abuse is pretty common almost everywhere and a big concern for the parents.
There are numerous reasons why teen drug abuse occurs and can have serious health consequences. So, before it is too late, parents should be vigilant of their teenage children and see signs for drug abuse. As we all say, adolescence is a very crucial stage in life!
Experimentation & Teenage Drug Abuse
We, humans, are born with curiosity like that of a cat. This curiosity increases more as we grow up from being a child to become an adolescent. As kids, if we go down the memory lane, we all were fascinated with the lives of an adult – especially the freedom to do anything and go anywhere. Both the childhood and adolescent phase is very impressionable, and we mostly adopt habits and lifestyles that we see growing up around us. The media is another factor that has a powerful influence on young minds.
So, a child who sees someone abuse drugs either in real or on television may become curious about the same. Most importantly, sometimes parents need to take prescribed drugs for their health conditions. As kids are filled with curiosity, if they get access to such drugs, they may end up with the issue of teenage drug abuse and addiction in the long run.
Peer pressure is another reason why there are many cases of drug abuse leading to teenage drug addiction issues sometimes. Teens are compelled and forced by their peers to try drugs. Denying such offerings, they are bullied and treated as outcasts.
Many remain stubborn and stay immune to such harassment, while some decide to give it a try and become a part of the ‘cool kids’! In doing so, while such teens enjoy the company of ‘cool kids’ and fit in the system with drug abuse before they know it, they become dependent on the drugs.
There are certain medications that children with ADD or ADHD are given to help them concentrate better on their activities. However, many believe that anyone can take such medications and reap the benefits of getting better concentration, increasing their productivity.
One such common drug that many students use is Adderall. This drug indeed is seen to help students memorize their studies better, but they may suffer serious health consequences eventually.
The fact is, little do the youngsters know that such drugs impart more negative effects on their health. Continued drug abuse for such reasons affects cognitive health, disrupts the sleep cycle, increased blood pressure, and causes dryness of the mouth.
Extreme trauma or stress
Extreme trauma or stress can turn a person’s life upside down. We all process our stress, grief in a different manner. Some teens start using drugs to cope up with the trauma or stress in their lives.
Drugs that teens commonly use
Below mentioned are some of the commonly used drugs by teenagers in today's time.
- Stimulants like Adderall, Ritalin
- DXM that include cough syrups
- Glue, Gasoline
Signs to identify teenage drug abuse and addiction
Having a teenage child is a big challenge that parents have to win properly with good parenting skills and lots of patience. Mood swings or changes in their behavior are a common sight to see when you have a teenage daughter or a son.
So, it is understandable that as a parent, you may not be able to make out if your teenage child is under the influence of drugs. Look out for these signs that will help you identify drug abuse:
- The people your teenager spends time with are known for drug abuse
- Withdrawal from the usual friends and even family
- Sleeps a lot
- The curious case of missing money all of sudden
- Unusual lethargic behavior
- Sudden poor health
- Carries a face filled with guilt
Point to be noted these are just a few common signs, there are maybe other signs as well. However, it is important to find physical evidence as well to confirm drug abuse before dealing with the situation.
Side Effects of Teenage Drug Abuse and Addiction
The side effects related to drug abuse and addiction are seriously detrimental to health.
- Bad for the brain. There will be a significant downfall in cognitive abilities with time if the drug abuse continues, leading to addiction.
- It creates a hindrance to the development of the brain. It is a known fact that our body is still in the development stage in our teens. The introduction of drugs into your body regularly affects the proper development of the body as a whole.
- Development of mental illness that includes paranoia, depression, anxiety, staying angry most of the time, etc.
- A decline in overall health
- Death in serious cases of overdose
- Broken social skills
How to Deal with Teenage Drug Problems?
Finding out your teen has been using drugs or has just started using can be a devastating feeling. However, it is of the utmost importance of dealing with teenage drug abuse or addiction carefully.
- It is okay to feel disappointed and angry, but it is of no use to express your anger and resentment in front of your teenage child. This may only aggravate the situation.
- Support your child, motivate them to deal with the problem.
- Communication is a must with your child. Help them open up to you about their problem – how it all started, and why?
- Be kind.
- Reach out to professional help to deal with the situation.
Recovery from teenage drug abuse or teenage drug addiction will be hard and tricky. You have to stay strong and determined to get rid of the issue. Sooner the better, but it is never too late to recover.
Also read: What If Teen Depression Is Left Untreated