Substance Abuse

Substance Abuse


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:

  1. Infrequent Use
    This may be characterized by infrequent use of the substance wherein no tolerance or signs of withdrawal arise.

  2. Misuse
    This may be characterized by constant use of the substance wherein mental, physical, and social problems develop.

  3. Addiction
    This may be characterized by the following traits:

    • Greater quantities of the substance may be used for an extended time
    • Failed attempts to restrain one’s use of the substance
    • Much time is spent either acquiring, using or recuperating from the drug/alcohol
    • Intoxication/detoxification may often occur at times where anticipated duties/responsibilities are to be accomplished. (For example, mid-terms or final paper deadlines at school)
    • Even as one’s use of the substance affects mental, physical, and social areas of well-being, frequency of use and persistence does not wane.
    • Development of tolerance
    • Appearance of withdrawal signs
    • More of the substance is used to alleviate withdrawal signs.
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.

The categories below provide more information on the following topics:

  • Problem Teens and signs of Substance Abuse  ( 4 items )
    Signs of teen substance abuse. How do you know if you teenager is taking drugs?  What are the signs and how widespread is drug use among American teens today?  The statistics may surprise you…

  • Types of Drugs you teenager might be using  ( 10 items )
    There are a world of drugs out there, some of them you may not have even heard of.  In todays day and age, it has become increasingly easy for young people to get their hands on illicit substances.  In this section of the site you will find information about all sorts of drugs that could be affecting your teens behavior.

  • Alcohol and Troubled Teens  ( 2 items )
    The upward trend in binge drinking (drinking to get drunk) is a growing problem with many teenagers the world over. 

  • Diagnosis and Treatment of Drug Abuse  ( 6 items )
    If you think your teen has a problem with drugs, you should seek help before it’s too late. Substance abuse can have life long implications. In this section you can find resources for diagnosis and drug abuse treatment options for your teenager.

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