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The long-term effects of teen drug abuse can be more severe than drug abuse by adults. The teenage brain remains in a developmental stage at this point in their lives and drug abuse can cause far-reaching behavioral and cognitive problems later on in life. Teens may experiment with drugs and alcohol and not become addicted, though even this experimentation may increase the risk of addiction later.
Discussing the dangers of drugs and alcohol with your teen remains one of the best ways to head off abuse before it starts.
Statistics on teen drug abuse can sometimes be hard to understand because plenty of teens try drugs and alcohol and never go on to try harder drugs or become addicted. However, nearly 900,000 teens between the ages of 12 and 17 required treatment for a substance abuse disorder in 2014. Teens often think that all their peers have tried drugs or alcohol and may be tempted to do the same.
By the 12th grade, over 40 percent of teens have tried marijuana at least once. However, only about 20 percent had used it in the last 30 days, which means that a large majority of teens do not smoke marijuana regularly. Another 20 percent of teens have tried an illicit drug by their senior year, but that also means that about 80 percent of teens stay away from hard drugs during high school.
A so-called gateway drug like marijuana, alcohol, and tobacco do not always lead teens to pursue harder drugs. However, these substances can exacerbate other psychological problems such as ADHD or depression. Because of this, gateway drugs still have the potential to lead teens down the road to addiction.
Parents should be on the lookout for signs of teen drug abuse. They may also be wondering why teens try drugs in the first place. The top reasons teens try and use drugs include curiosity, peer pressure, emotional problems, stress and feeling like they need to escape. The majority of addicted adults tried drugs or alcohol for the first time before the age of 21.
Behavior changes in teens don’t always indicate drug use, but certain behavioral combinations may give you cause for concern. Keep in mind that addiction eventually causes the individual to put drug seeking and using above all other pursuits. This might cause your teen to have poor school performance, miss class or after-class activities, lose interest in previous hobbies or activities and either stop hanging out with friends or change their social circle.
Another group of behavioral changes includes increased need for secrecy or privacy, a persistent bad mood or unusual lethargy, getting involved in illegal behavior, isolating themselves and unexplained absences. They may also exhibit profound mood changes like paranoia, be loud and obnoxious, have slurred or quick speech, and laugh for no reason.
If you’re dealing with teen drug abuse and don’t know where to turn, Beaches Recovery in Jacksonville, Florida can help. We offer programs for teen drug rehab that include education resources to help students to get back on track. Teen addiction affects the entire family. That’s why we also offer family therapy and education about substance abuse and addiction. Many addicted patients also struggle with other mental health disorders. These disorders will be addressed along with addiction in dual diagnosis treatment programs.
At Beaches Recovery you will find:
The possibility of an addiction-free life does exist, but the first step to recovery is seeking help.
Don’t let your teen’s drug addiction control your life or theirs. Get help today by calling Beaches Recovery at 866-605-0532. We can help set you and your family on the path to recovery from the effects of addiction.