There are many symptoms of drug abuse, but some of the most common signs your teen is abusing drugs are:
* Problems with the law, such as DUI, breaking curfew, stealing, etc.
* Problems at school, such as excessive tardiness, poor grades, suspension, etc.
* Mood swings
* Loss of interest in favorite activities
* Drug paraphernalia
* Violent behavior
* Poor hygiene
* Missing money
Effects of Drug Abuse on Teens
Drug abuse at any age can cause serious health effects, but teens who abuse drugs are at particular risk for negative consequences. Teens who abuse drugs are more likely to struggle with addiction later in life and have permanent and irreversible brain damage. Some other common negative effects of teen drug abuse are:
* Emotional problems. Drug abuse can cause or mask emotional problems such as anxiety, depression, mood swings, suicidal thoughts and schizophrenia. In fact, among teens with major depression, 34.6 percent report using drugs. Unfortunately, drug use can also increase the severity of these emotional problems. For example, teens that use marijuana weekly double their risk of depression and anxiety.
* Behavioral problems. Teens who abuse drugs have an increased risk of social problems, depression, suicidal thoughts and violence. According to a recent survey by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, teens who abuse drugs are more likely than teens who don’t abuse drugs to engage in delinquent behaviors such as fighting and stealing.
* Addiction and dependence. Studies prove that the younger a person is when they begin using drugs the more likely they are to develop a substance abuse problem and relapse later in life.
* Risky sex. Teens that use drugs are five times more likely to have sex than teens who don’t use drugs. Teens that use drugs are also more likely to have unprotected sex and have sex with a stranger. This leads to higher risks of STDs, teen pregnancy and sexual assault.
* Learning problems. Drug abuse damages short-term and long-term memory and can lead to problems with learning and memory later in life.
* Diseases. Teens who abuse drugs with needles increase their risk of blood-borne diseases like HIV, AIDS and Hepatitis B and C.
* Brain damage. Drug abuse among teens can result in serious mental disorders or permanent, irreversible damage to the brain or nervous system. Brain damage among teens who abuse drugs includes brain shrinkage; impaired learning abilities; amnesia and memory problems; impaired reasoning, perception and intuition; increased or decreased socialization; and changes in sexual desire.
* Car accidents. Teenagers who abuse drugs are more likely to be involved in car accident-related injuries or death. One study showed that 4 to 14 percent of drivers who are injured or die in traffic accidents test positive for THC.
Teen Drug Treatment
If you know a teen who is abusing drugs, don’t wait to intervene. The sooner your teen gets help for drug abuse, the more likely they’ll be to avoid the long-lasting consequences. Fortunately, there are many different teen drug rehabs to choose from. The most effective teen drug rehab, however, may be a residential treatment program. Here your teen will have access to 24/7 supervision and care, detoxification, dual diagnosis treatment and a variety of holistic treatments based on their individual needs. Talk to a medical doctor about your teen’s symptoms and determine which type of drug abuse treatment is best for your teen.
| Jill Nicholson|
|Everybody knows bad things can happen to drug users. They become addicted. They can have serious or even fatal health problems. They can ruin their personal, social and professional lives. They may even end up in jail. But why do young people start taking drugs in the first place? What are the causes of drug use among young people?|
|The first cause is simple curiosity. Many teens have heard about drugs, and they are curious to experience them for themselves. They have heard that drugs can be fun, or make a person feel and act different. Maybe they have seen their friends or family members behave differently while on drugs, and they want to see how it really feels. We see drugs on TV and movies every day. Many young people encounter them at school, at home or in their neighborhood. It is not unusual to be curious about something you see and hear about so often, so many people first try drugs because they are curious about them.|
|Another reason young people take drugs is to escape their reality. Maybe their home life is not very happy. Maybe they have a boring job, are not doing well in school, or are just not happy with their life for whatever reason. For many people, drugs are a way to escape that unhappy reality. They can feel a little braver, stronger, a little smarter, more beautiful or more important. Of course this doesn�t last long, but that doesn�t matter. For the brief time that the drugs are taking affect, the user can forget about the problems, responsibilities and limitations of everyday life and escape to a fantasy world. It is no secret that drugs change the way you feel; this is why they are so attractive to young people despite their dangers.|
|Young people also take drugs to feel cool and impress their friends. If your friends all smoke marijuana, you will probably be expected to smoke it, too. If they snort cocaine, they will offer it to you. They may tell you that you are scared or acting like a baby if you don�t want to try it. This push to do what your friends are doing is called peer pressure, and it has a very strong effect on young people who don�t want to appear uncool to their friends. Some kids will do whatever their friends do, just to fit in and follow the crowd. They don�t want to be the only one not doing something, even if it is something dangerous, like taking drugs.|
|Unfortunately, many young people become involved in drugs before they are fully aware of the health risks and the power of addiction. They need to understand the ways young people first become involved with drugs so they can beware of them. Many curious teens have died the first time they tried certain drugs, like ecstasy. Others have found their temporary escape became a permanent addiction. Was it worth it?|
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