When one thinks of substance abuse, usually alcohol may be what immediately comes to mind. But in actuality there are a variety of substances (legal and illegal) available to teenagers today.
Aside from alcohol, other substances may include: tobacco, cocaine, stimulants, marijuana, hallucinogens, steroids, inhalants, ecstasy, prescription drugs, and opiates. The addicting nature which may lead to the extreme consumption of these substances takes its dreaded toll upon the health of your teen. There are also particulars which may make one teenager more prone to substance abuse than another: low self-esteem, experiences of alienation within one’s peer group, depression and a history of substance abuse by a family member.
Three classes of substance abuse can be recognized:
General Indications of Substance Abuse
In general, an obvious sign of substance abuse no matter what the substance may be is an extreme shift in behavior. Here are some quick indicators of a teenager struggling with substance abuse:
· Unexpected shifts in character (ex. frequent absence in school or failing grades)· Intense mood swings or displays of anger
· Deviation from duties/responsibilities· Major shifts in total way of thinking
· Declining fascination in one’s preferred activities· Struggles with alertness and attentiveness
· Symptoms of anxiety appear in his/her bodily manner· A guarded mentality
· Worsening physical look and a· Frequent use of shades/sunglasses even when uncalled for
· Covering one’s self up in apparel, such as long-sleeved shirts no matter what the weather or occasion· Loaning of money from peers, parents or others
· Shoplifting or theft of things from school/home· Efforts to conceal actions (ex. repeated trips to the bathroom) and belongings (ex. stashes of drug equipment/substances)
· Physical symptoms such as: problems with coordination, difficulties with paying attention and remembering things, as well as garbled speech.
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