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Adolescents and Substance Abuse


Substance Abuse in Adolescents

Substance abuse can take a serious toll in the life of not only the user, but also friends, family and others he or she may come in contact with down the road.  It is difficult enough to imagine facing these inner demons each day as an adult, but it can be magnified even greater as an adolescent.  Facing various social issues amongst one’s peers has always been one of the more difficult aspects of growing up through the pre-teen and teen years; add on struggles such as substance abuse or mental health issues and these problems become magnified. It is important that adolescents learn the dangers of substance abuse as early of an age as possible.

Addiction Factors

Understandably, there will be many young adults and children who will interact with harmful or addictive substances, regardless of what they know or do not know. There can be many different factors that can contribute to addictions and substance abuse, and there can often be layers of issues that led up to this point. In short, the quicker that one can identify and address any symptoms that could be parts of this type of substance abuse, the quicker a doctor or mental health specialist can identify and treat these issues.

Warning Signs

As a parent or guardian, being able to distinguish your child’s moods can be a significant part of your relationship; it could also potentially save their life.  Make it a habit to practice drawing your child out and discussing various life issues as they continue to grow and get older.  Many children and adolescents can end up feeling more engaged and comfortable opening up to a parent if they are struggling with substance abuse.  However, these situations do not always pan out as expected, which means it is good to be proactive in your approach.  Learning the potential signs of drug or substance abuse can make a huge difference.

Behavior Changes

When adolescents engage in substance abuse, one of the first signs you may notice is a change in their behavior. It may be significant, or it may be subtle, but it will naturally draw your attention to the change. Withdrawal from family or friends, or increasingly isolating themselves can be a sign, as well as potentially having new friends or companions that differ from their previous friends.

Mood Changes

Their moods can also change as well, which can potentially show up as verbal or physical abuse directed towards family members and friends. Irritation is another sign, as well as depression, anxiety, unstable moods and more. On the physical side of things, you may notice changes such as sudden weight loss or weight gain, bloodshot eyes, unexplained injuries such as bruises, welts or physical problems, fatigue and even a lack in the upkeep of their hygiene. While sometimes these may not necessarily be directly related to substance abuse, the reality is that it can still potentially be a link.

A Significant Problem

There is no doubt that substance or drug abuse has become a significant issue throughout the United States. Statistics show that nearly 50% of all high school seniors have in some way tried and abused a drug. In addition, around 64% of teenagers have confessed to utilizing prescription painkillers that they received from a family member or a friend.

Substance Abuse Help

In short, drug and substance abuse in adolescents can be a very significant problem, and it is important to get them the help and treatment they need and deserve. If you suspect that your adolescent child may be abusing substances, or if they have confessed to you that there are currently addicted, please call Strategic Behavioral Health of Charlotte for a completely free and confidential assessment. Contact us 24/7, 365 days a year at 855-537-2262.

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