Early Teen Substance Abuse May Lead to Addiction

Studies have shown that the earlier in life someone uses drugs, the more likely they are to develop an addiction. As parents, being able to recognize the telltale signs of substance abuse in our children is vital in order to protect their future. One of the first signs of drug use to appear is a change in appetite. Teens that suddenly begin to gorge themselves and those that seem to suddenly boycott food are likely at risk of using substances ranging from marijuana to amphetamines. These drugs will also change the teens’ normal sleep patterns. Physical appearance changes also show in teenagers using substances. Their eyes may look bloodshot or sunken, physical hygiene may deteriorate and their fashion sense may take a complete 180. These are all warning signs of substance abuse. A change in friends often accompanies the change of fashion. Despite their choice to indulge in harmful drugs, teenagers will be mindful about what clothes help them gain acceptance with various cliques. Neglecting responsibilities such as school work, chores around the house or a part-time job are also signs that something is amiss. Parents should also be wary of teens with a sudden need for money and are reluctant to say where they spend it. Environmental factors, such as family and the overall social environment outside the immediate family may have a large influence on who will turn to drugs and alcohol. For some individuals who experience trauma on a frequent basis, substance abuse becomes an easy way out of the constant hurt. Since substance abuse in teens is a rapidly growing problem, being able to recognize the signs of abuse and help individuals seek treatment is important for parents and teens alike.

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