Parents play critical roles in their children’s development. How you educate them early in life will be visible until they age. But sometimes, in spite of all your efforts to keep them safe and sheltered, their behaviour can be influenced by others.
As your children grow and start to experience things on their own, you have less and less control over them. This is perfectly normal, being part of their development. However, teens can expose themselves to dangers without even realizing.
Substance use rates in teenagers have skyrocketed over the past couple of years. Similar behaviours can impact their well-being, but paying attention to several signs and symptoms can help you identify substance use in an early phase.
According to this BBC article, the teenagers in the Kingdom are some of the heaviest drug and alcohol users in Europe. According to them, almost 30% of 15 and 16 years old in the UK have used alcohol at least three times during the past month. According to another study cited in the article, two in five teenagers have used marijuana at least once by the age of 15.
These numbers are concerning, but by paying attention to early signs of use, you can stop the evolution of this hazardous behaviour.
But why do teens use drugs?
This complex matter has multiple answers and a single cause for drug use and abuse in teenagers has never been identified. From peer pressure to self-medication attempts, there are a ton of reasons why your well-behaved child might turn into a person with self-destructive behaviour. Here are some of the most common causes of teenage substance abuse.
- Peer pressure – during their teenage years, children want to feel they are part of a community. And so, they agree to get involved in the same activities and behaviour as their peers. When they show reluctance to what others in their groups practice, they are pressured in following the lead. Frequently, peer pressure if tightly knit to bullying. When one of the group members refuses to follow their peers’ example, they are bullied for it. And ultimately, they choose the easiest way to deal with it: by being part of the “herd”. Although peer pressure is not always risky, it can easily become when drugs and alcohol are involved.
- Academic pressure – many teens find it difficult to get through the busy and stressful years they have ahead of them. Today, high-school classes have become more difficult and the pressure to score high on their tests and exams hangs over their heads. Another reason why teens may pick up risky behaviour is to overcome the academic pressure. Some might start by taking drugs that help them sleep better, others may take so-called “study drugs”, and others may self-medicate to relieve stress. Regardless, this will inevitably lead to a pattern of risky decisions.
Drug abuse signs and symptoms
Because teens will never tell their parents they’re under a lot of academic or social pressure, you should pay attention to some of the most common signs of drug use and abuse. Closer collaboration with your child’s teachers, mentors, and friends will help identify with more success similar issues in them. While some signs are obvious, others need to be analysed before conclusions are made.
- Odd smells in your teen’s room. If your teen’s room smells unlike its usual, this may be a sign they have been smoking marijuana in their room. If you don’t know what marijuana smells like, we recommend visiting the local police station and asking one of the employees there to show you how a sample smells like. This may seem like an extra effort, but it will help you tell for sure if the lingering smell in your teen’s room is normal or not.
- A change in academic results. According to the specialists at this drug rehab London based centre, one of the most obvious signs of drug use is a change in their academic results. If your child was brilliant in their studies and now, they score bad results on their tests, you can start to investigate the matter. Although this can also result from progressively more complex courses, or other factors, keep your eyes peeled for other signs.
- Glazed expression. Although a similar expression might signal a series of affections, it can also be a sign of substance use. Generally, teenagers are not the happiest or communicative persons out there. This may be a sign of teenage angst, just like it can signal drug abuse. Try to talk to your child and see if there is something that they need to get off their chest. If the cause is drug abuse, you will notice other signs, too.
- Paraphernalia. Many teens that frequently use drugs have different tools and objects they use in the process. Roll-ups and tin boxes are only some of the items you may find in their possession if they use. For hard drugs, you will find syringes and needles. Unless the boxes smell like tobacco, you want to ask your child about what the tin boxes in their possession are used for. Check their expression to see if something more is happening in their life.
- They ditch their friends. Although is relatively common for teens to give up their childhood friends, you want to make sure your teen is actually growing apart from their friends, and no drugs are the reason for it. Try to talk to them and see if this is happening just because of a change in preferences of serious reasons are behind.
If you notice signs of addiction in your teen, make sure they receive professional help. This is not an issue you can overlook. Try to find a rehab centre in your area and make sure your child receives the help they need. Involve their teachers and mentors, if you think they may be using illicit substances. Keeping a healthy mind and body during this time will determine their future in terms of health and career.