Teen Substance Abuse Dangers Every Parent Should Know
Are your child’s grades slipping? Have you noticed changes in his or her mood or demeanor? Is your teen avoiding time with his old friends or with family? These are all possible signs of teen substance abuse.
Teenage substance abuse can lead to serious consequences and is a very dangerous situation that many parents mistakenly overlook or downplay as something insignificant. Recognizing teen substance abuse can be challenging, especially when parents are naturally inclined to think the best about their children, but failure to recognize this problem can have devastating consequences.
Dangers of Teen Substance Use
Teens are susceptible to a number of dangers if they abuse substances such as marijuana, heroin or other drugs. Because teens are still in the development stages of their lives, the risks associated with permanent brain damage, health related consequences and psychological demise is far greater when they abuse these substances. Drinking or drugging can inhibit their behaviors, may lead to irrational thoughts and can led to injury, illness or death.
Prescription drugs are often seen by teens as “safe” or “ok” because they have friends or loved ones who take the medications and they don’t see why there could be any danger in using something that a doctor would prescribe. This premise is very risky and can result in grave consequences for the teen. Teenagers who abuse prescription drugs are at an increased risk of:
- Physical dependence
Recognizing Signs of Teen Substance Abuse
If you are a parent, it’s important to recognize the signs of potential substance abuse in your teen early on so that you can get them appropriate help. Some of the signs that may signify a problem include:
- Failing grades with no other explanation
- Changes in mood that are abrupt and distinct
- Changes in friendships or groups
- Changes in social interaction
- Changes in hobbies or a lack of interest in hobbies or sports
- Lack of interest in family
- Changes in sleep patterns
- Inexplicable loss of money
It’s important as a parent to recognize small signals that your teen may give off. Even the smallest clue could be the answer to a major problem. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, teens who abuse drugs, especially marijuana, are at risk of a number of psychological complications later on including:
No level of teenage substance use should be considered safe or acceptable. If your teen is abusing drugs or alcohol, take the steps to get proper help early on to prevent further consequences and dangers from ruining his or her life.