Most individuals would readily agree that the teen years are very difficult–both for the teenager himself as well as for his parents. Teenagers face pressure from their peers, from their parents, from their educators and from themselves. Along with the many hormonal, emotional, physical, sexual, social and intellectual changes a teenager is struggling through, there are many behavioral changes that are considered perfectly normal. Some teenagers will sleep an entire day away as though they simply cannot get enough sleep, or they may stay up all night long and somehow manage to make it by just fine the very next day. Sometimes they will spill every single little detail about their lives, and other times they refuse to say a single word about anything. All of this can be so utterly confusing that parents may have difficulty determining whether their teenager is suffering from teenage “normal” mood swings or something worse–like drug addiction.
The Difference Between Mood Swings and Drug Addiction
Even when a teenager isn’t suffering from the powerful effects of drug addiction they may still be suffering and in need of help. Teenagers who experience excessive periods of sleeping, who experience sudden changes in their academic performance, who exhibit dramatic changes in their eating habits, who lose interest in those activities that normally interested them, who isolate themselves from others, and who experience dramatic changes in their personality need to receive help and support from their parents and family members. It is possible that the teenager who is having an especially difficult time coping with the challenges of life may consider turning to drug use, which can in turn become drug abuse and drug addiction.
When an individual first turns to drug use, it is in an effort to suppress the undesirable sensations they are experiencing as a result of some challenge, difficulty or problem they have encountered in their life. The relief they experience as a result of drug use, though temporary, can be so welcome that the individual decides that these substances are helpful. This drives them to continue consuming drugs regularly, until they reach a point of drug tolerance. At this point, they discover that the same type, volume and frequency of drug use fails to generate the same desired effects. This can result in a variety of solutions–from the individual deciding drugs are useless and moving on from them to the individual choosing to consume greater quantities of drugs more frequently in order to force the desired effects. In the latter case, the individual moves rapidly toward drug dependence and addiction, conditions wherein their body grows to depend upon drugs in order to continue functioning normally and the individual compulsively continues their drug use despite all damaging effects of doing so.
Individuals who are struggling with drug abuse and addiction need support and help from others in order to fully and permanently overcome these problems and move forward into a better and healthier future. This is certainly true of teenagers, who are already struggling with a difficult period in their life. It is important, then, for their parents to understand the basic signs of drug abuse and addiction so that they can provide help where needed. Some of the most obvious and common signs of drug abuse or addiction include the presence of drug and alcohol paraphernalia, slurred speech, poor school attendance, poor academic performance, bloodshot eyes, unnaturally dilated or constricted pupils, changes in eating habits, tremors, impaired coordination, high risk behavior, dropped responsibilities, paranoia, fear, anxiety, sudden mood swings, aggressive behavior, hyperactivity, and lack of motivation.
Helping a Drug-Addicted Teen
Parents can help their drug addicted teen the most by encouraging open and honest communication–before drugs even come into the picture. Those parents who choose to talk openly and honestly with their children about all manner of things, including drugs, often discover that their children are far less likely to turn to drug use at all. Parents can also ensure other preventative and educational measures are taking place at their child’s school and in the community. Whatever measures are taken to help prevent or resolve drug addiction in teenagers, the efforts are very well worth it for all involved.