While a lot of teenagers try drugs or alcohol, not all of them develop addictions. However, just like adults, some teens have a higher risk than others of becoming addicted. A combination of genetic and environmental factors can lead to addiction. If your family has a history of mental illness, especially addiction, keep an eye out of signs of addiction in your teen. Likewise, if your teen has spent a lot of time surrounded by friends or family with substance use problems, he or she has a higher likelihood of developing an addiction. Furthermore, keep an eye out for other risk factors such as high stress levels, loneliness, and behavioral problems.
Common Teen Drug Abuse
Teenagers tend to abuse the same drugs that adults abuse, but because teenagers don’t usually have a lot of money, their options are limited. Often, when teens abuse drugs, they use the kinds of drugs that they can steal from family members or even buy legally. Some of the drugs that teens commonly abuse include:
- Alcohol, which can be stolen from a parent or relative
- Marijuana, which can be bought illicitly
- Over the Counter Medications, which can often be bought legally
- Prescription medications, which can be borrowed from friends or stolen from relatives
- Inhalants like the fumes from office supplies, which are easily and legally bought
People between the ages of 12 to 20 are responsible for 11% of the alcohol consumption in the US.
Drug Use Dangers
Drug abuse can be more dangerous to teens than to adults. The teenage brain is still developing, and drug abuse during these formative years can lead to long-term damage. All drugs have different uses and side effects, but they tend to fall into three major categories: stimulants, depressants, and hallucinogens.
- Stimulants speed up the central nervous system. They cause health problems like insomnia, rapid heart rate, anxiety, and high blood pressure.
- Depressants, on the other hand, slow down the central nervous system. The dangers from these drugs include slowed heart rate, slowed (or stopped) breathing, and dangerously low blood pressure.
- Hallucinogens change the way that people perceive things, and these drugs can leave permanent damage on the part of the brain that processes the senses. Some hallucinogen users experience long-term hallucinations even when not experiencing a high.
If you worry that your teen has a drug problem, call 800-492-QUIT for help today.
Signs of a Drug Problem in Teens
If you’ve noticed any combination of the following things, your teenage son or daughter may have a drug or alcohol problem.
- He or she frequently has red eyes or avoids eye contact.
- He or she has spikes of irritability or paranoia.
- You’ve noticed signs of sleep disturbances in your teen, such as extreme fatigue.
- Money or household items have gone missing.
- Your teen’s grades have changed dramatically.
- He or she has been neglecting hygiene.
- He or she has behaved in a secretive or suspicious way.
If you’ve noticed these issues, you will likely need to confront your child about drug use. However, it’s highly important that you do not yell at your child, speak condescendingly, or refuse to listen. If your teen does have an addiction, then that addiction is a legitimate mental health problem. Your child will need firmness, compassion, and treatment.
Drug Treatment for Teens
Your teen’s treatment options will depend on the severity of the drug problem. For some teens, rehabilitation is the best option. Many treatment centers exist specifically for teenagers and young adults. Therapists and other professionals in these centers will know how to treat and communicate with teens.
In addition to rehab, many teenagers can benefit from therapy. Teens have to deal with a lot of academic and social pressure, and the process of changing from children into adults can be exhausting and scary. Regular therapy sessions can help teenagers find safe and healthy ways to deal with their frustrations rather than self-medicating with drugs and alcohol.
Start With Rehab Info
You love your son or daughter more than anything, so the idea of your child suffering from a drug addiction can cause unimaginable fear and grief. You may not know which way to turn. At Rehab Info, we’re here to help you get your child the help that he or she needs. When you call Rehab Info, we can listen to your concerns and then go over your options so that you can make an informed choice.