teen drug use

Signs of Drug Use in Teens

When it comes to drug abuse, there may be more to a teenager than meets the eye. As weird as it sounds, there are plenty of young people who struggle with addiction. If the question of whether or not your child is abusing drugs even exists, it is highly likely that they are indeed wrestling with substance abuse. 

Often, it is difficult for people to admit that they’re struggling with substance abuse. There’s a negative stigma attached to addiction and for a good reason. However, it is imperative to always approach these individuals with love and care; addiction in teenagers is a unique topic, and as so, it requires a unique approach. 

How Did it Happen?

There are several factors that could lead to a young person’s addiction. Some of them include the following:

  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Stress (from family or friend groups)
  • Peer pressure
  • Coping with trauma

It could be hard to say for sure whether or not a teen is addicted, as there could be any number of reasons a young person starts using drugs. However, as far as brain chemistry is concerned, the signals in the brain are distorted when drugs are used. Because of this, thoughts, actions, and emotions adapt. The part of the brain where this happens is often referred to as the pleasure center.

If its name is any indication, the pleasure center’s function is to communicate overall satisfaction when consuming food, feeling loved, or enjoying entertainment. When a high occurs, dopamine rushes to the brain. It is at this moment that the pleasure center is activated. 

As a result of their first high, drug users often feel as though they need more every time they partake to satisfy their cravings truly; there is no high stronger than the first. The more someone does drugs, the higher volume they have to use to reach the same high, making it more challenging to achieve the desired result. This leads to withdrawal and gives birth to drug dependency.

Teen Addiction Symptoms

Symptoms of addiction in teenagers include the following:

  • Changes in sleeping habits
  • Changes in friend groups
  • Changes in eating habits
  • Lack of interest in school/extracurriculars
  • Lack of interest in friend groups
  • Lack of self-care/grooming
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Irritability
  • Mood swings
  • Nausea
  • Shaking
  • Restlessness 
  • Extreme secrecy 

More than anything, teenagers want to belong; they don’t want to be social outcasts. Because of this, their drug history could begin at a young age. Often times this serves as a catalyst for dangerous, long-term addiction and substance abuse. This is why it is imperative to be familiar with the warning signs.

It is normal for the parent of an addicted teen to feel as though they’ve failed. However, it is not their fault that this happens. Because of this, positivity is of the utmost vitality. Negative thoughts or actions will only set someone’s recovery back, worsening their circumstances. The best way to approach anybody who is struggling with addiction, especially a teenager, is with grace and understanding. This is due in large part to the fact that more times than not, teenagers want to be understood.

Asking for Help

Asking for help exposes people – it leaves them feeling vulnerable. Addiction is difficult to handle, even without the pressure of seeking assistance. In all honesty, it takes bravery and determination to ask for it. This is why it’s so important to make an effort to understand them.

Fear has a way of controlling people’s decisions – it’s paralyzing. Often times, this is a large part of the reason why some teens don’t want to reach out. Teenagers often hold the thoughts and opinions of others more highly than they ought to. This could be because they fear the potential isolation they may feel from friend groups or disappointment they may feel from a family member. That being said, it’s important to know just how to approach them on a personal level. The answer is quite simple, but it is so difficult to execute. The answer lies in validation.

When someone cares for another person, they may have a difficult time seeing them walk through a rough patch. Because of this, the urge to fix things for them is quite natural. Chances are, however, that they don’t need fixing more than they need to be heard. Validating their fear is necessary to recovery; it is not optional. Refuting one’s fear could shut them off from ever speaking to you again. 

Teenagers struggling with substance abuse may also be experiencing denial. This is another reason it’s so difficult to ask for help; they don’t think they need it. Choosing to ignore a problem exists is detrimental to potential solutions. For the loved ones in their life, this could be extremely difficult due to the obvious nature of abuse.

Along with fear and denial, depression is also a factor when it comes to neglecting help. Depression is one of the most misunderstood illnesses in the world. Often, people believe that depression is exclusive to sadness, but this is not the case. There are many other symptoms of depression, one of which is a lack of motivation. 

A severe lack of motivation makes even the simplest of tasks difficult to complete. Some people have a hard time just getting out of bed when they’re depressed. Because asking for help makes people vulnerable, it intensifies the difficulty of the process. Whether this was prevalent before addiction or because of addiction makes no difference; depression is a large barrier in seeking help.

Does My Teen Need Rehab?

Rehab for drug addiction is tough when someone isn’t familiar with the tools at their disposal. Addiction Treatment Services provide teens with the tools necessary to pursue a life of recovery and stability.

No teenager wants to feel isolated, especially in a stage of life where they’re most vulnerable. Providing them with the support system they need is imperative to their recovery journey. Addiction Treatment Services can give that to you. Once your teenager feels supported and empowered, the sky’s the limit for their recovery journey.

Where to Go from Here

Some Addiction Treatment Service information we provide include the following:

The treatment options mentioned above have proven safe and successful by Addiction Treatment Services. There is no one-size-fits-all treatment method. We want to assess which treatment is best for each patient that walks through our doors.

Addiction Treatment Services Can Help

Drug addiction is difficult to walk through, especially for a teenager. They already have a hard time finding a sense of belonging, and addiction can make them feel isolated. At Addiction Treatment Services, we want them to feel that they are in good company, and we aim to carry their burden with them. If you believe your teenager may be struggling with drug addiction, you can contact us here.