There are many reasons why people turn to drugs, and for teenagers, this could be due to peer pressure, academic stresses, as a way to cope with bullying, or simply being curious and wanting to experiment. It is easy to develop an addiction to these substances, which is why it is so important to understand the signs of when your teenager might be abusing drugs and what you can do to help them. Below are a few examples of the typical signs that someone is abusing drugs and what kind of support is available.
Mood swings aren’t uncommon with teenagers, and this doesn’t necessarily mean that they are using drugs but could be due to typical hormonal changes that are occurring in adolescents. However, drug abuse can also result in mood swings as these substances can disrupt your natural brain chemistry. When someone is addicted to a drug, they are likely to become aggravated due to craving their next fix and will feel agitated and frustrated until they can achieve that high. Drug abuse can also disrupt your sleep cycle, and feelings of exhaustion can also result in more frequent irritability.
They Are Distancing Themselves from Family and Friends
Again, teens tend to want to spend more time with their friends than their family members, but if you feel that they are being secretive about where they have been or are going, that they are spending more and more time away from home and appear to have withdrawn from their old friendship groups, this could be a sign that something isn’t right. They may be avoiding you and others to hide that they are high or in withdrawal.
Changes in Hygiene and Physical Appearance
You might also notice that your teenager is no longer taking care of their hygiene, or perhaps their appearance is generally more disheveled than usual. They might oversleep and leave little time for them to get washed and dressed properly in the morning, or they don’t have the energy to care for themselves properly because they are high or tired from the substance abuse. You might also notice things such as their clothes smelling of smoke or other unusual smells. They might appear flushed or have track marks on their arms or legs if they have been abusing intravenous substances.
What Should You Do?
It’s is imperative that you get your teenager help to kick their habit if they have formed a drug addiction. A good place to start is by reaching out to specialists for further advice and guidance, as well as trying to instigate a conversation with your teenager about the issue. You can also look for a local teen rehab center where they can get the right support and treatment they need to overcome their addiction and understand it better themselves. It won’t always be easy, but try to have patience and compassion. Let them know how much you love them and will be there to support them. Trying to understand why your teenager turned to drugs in the first place will also help you support them moving forward, as often there is another issue that needs addressing to help them stay clean.
Drug addiction in Massachusetts (and all over the United States) is a serious problem for people of every age, but the sooner you can intervene and get someone the help they need, the better. If you have noticed these signs in your teenager and are concerned, reach out to medical professionals and addiction specialists for the right support.
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