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The Problem of Teenage Drug Addiction
Regrettably, many teens consider experimenting with drugs and alcohol to be an important part of growing up, despite the significant risk and many disastrous consequences. Some teens are introduced to drug use through prescriptions and then begin to use recreationally. Some teens begin experimenting with drugs as a result of friends or become curious after listening to a song referencing drug abuse. Some even discover drugs by stealing from their parents’ medicine cabinets. No matter how an adolescent first begins substance abuse, teenage drug addiction is a very real risk.
1 in 5 teens admit to recreational drug use. When asked why, Common responses include:
- To fit in
- To relieve stress
- Easy access to drugs
- Poor impulse control
- Genetic predisposition to drug abuse
- To find balance between responsibilities
- To self-medicate mental or emotional problems
- To explore their curiosity
- Dependence and addiction
- Easy availability
Some of the most commonly used drugs among teens include:
- Synthetic Marijuana
- Anabolic Steroids
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Teenage “Study Drug” Abuse
Stimulants are attractive to individuals seeking an increase in energy, mood, or brain function. Prescription drugs like Adderall and Ritalin are commonly prescribed for adolescents with Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder, or ADHD. Teens taking these drugs often find they enhance their ability to focus on school projects and academic performance. Unfortunately, many teens who are not prescribed these drugs abuse them, thinking they will see the same benefits. However, studies consistently show that those who abuse Adderall without a prescription show poorer academic performance. Additionally, these drugs carry substantial addiction risk, along with such side effects as
- Chest pain
- Lack of Appetite
- Strained relationships
- Weight loss
Teenage Cannabinoid Abuse
Marijuana, also known as “pot,” “weed,” “maryjane,” “reefer,” “ganja,” and many other nicknames, is an extremely popular drug sought out for its sedative effects on the mind and body, popularly refered to as “getting high.” 38% of high school students report using marijuana. Marijuana is combined with alcohol or other drugs to create a longer or more intense high.
Typical side effects of marijuana use include:
- Calm mood
- Poor memory
- Declining school performance
- Loss of motivation
- Impaired driving
- Increased appetite
The impressionable nature of teenagers can encourage addiction through exposure, or the wrong friends. For example, new surveys have linked increased marijuana use in teens as they listened to music glamorizing marijuana use. Additionally, teens often find marijuana at concerts or parties, experimenting with drugs in a “carefree” setting.
Synthetic Marijuana, also known as Spice, Black Mamba or K2, is a combination of herbs and man-made chemicals with a psychoactive effect that is designed to mimic the effects of Marijuana. However, these drugs are generally substantially more dangerous than Marijuana, and may cause such side effects as:
- Anxiety attacks
- Increased heart rate
- Feelings of confusion
- Irritability and violent behavior
- Suicidal thoughts
- Increased blood pressure
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Is My Teen at Risk for Drug Addiction?
Teenagers experience a variety of social, mental, and emotional changes as they experience the ups and downs of growing up. This can often make it difficult for friends and family to tell the difference between warning signs of teenage drug addiction or normal hormonal and personal changes. However, there are a number of indicators that loved ones should pay close attention to, including:
- Depression, anxiety, or other mental disorders
- Friends/romantic partners who use substances
- Family members who abuse drugs or alcohol
- Traumatic personal experiences
- Consuming pop culture with drugs and alcohol
- Low self-esteem
- Declining academic performance
- Missing money
- Intense mood swings
- Associating with a different crowd
- Routinely finishing prescriptions prematurely
- Withdrawing from friends and family
- No longer participating in former activities
- Changes in physical appearance or behavior
Getting Your Teen Help Now
Teenage drug addiction can set the tone for a lifetime of abuse and dependence. Luckily, the earlier an addiction is treated, the easier and more successful treatment is likely to be. Stop the substance use disorder now before it progresses into something more severe. Contact a treatment provider today to discover teen-friendly rehab facilities that can guide your loved on from addiction into a life of sobriety.
What are you struggling with?
There are many different forms of addiction. Get the information you need to help you overcome yours.