Adolescents use drugs for various reasons. Some may use drugs to fit in because others they know are doing it. They may also experiment with drugs since it is a new experience and want to see how it feels. Teenagers use drugs because of the feelings of pleasure produced by the drugs interacting with the brain as well. Others may use drugs to attempt to mask feelings of depression, anxiety, stress, and/or physical pain. The momentary high relieves them of the negative feelings they want to avoid. When adolescents start to behave differently for no apparent reason, it could be a sign of drug use. An adolescent may suddenly be withdrawn, tired, depressed, or hostile. They may change their peer group, not take care of themselves, skip school, do poorly in school, quit their favorite activities, change eating habits, and stop interacting with family members.
Parents often underestimate the risks and seriousness of drug use. However, if a child is showing warning signs of drug use, it’s important to take it seriously and seek help. Often adolescents will not be honest about their drug use with their parents. It may be wise to find a counselor who can find out the prevalence of their drug usage and seek out the underlying causes. If the teenager is honest with their parents about their drug use, it is important for parents to respond appropriately. Reacting with anger and guilt will only cause more struggles for the child and they may begin to hide their use. Therefore, parents should respond with understanding and seek to find out why they decided to use drugs. The deeper reasoning of why the child is using drugs will help parents decide the next steps for helping their child.
Treatment for teenage drug use may involve cognitive behavioral therapy by helping the child understand the reasons they are using drugs. By doing so, the child may be able to find alternative coping strategies and make better choices in the future. Being proactive to remove opportunities to use drugs would also be a part of treatment. It would be important to assess the severity of the substance abuse problem during early signs of drug use. Parents may decide to place their child in a substance abuse treatment center if they feel the problem is severe.
Promise Village: Home for Children works with children who have experimented with drugs or have mild use. Often children who are angry, anxious, depressed, and/or stressed turn to drugs for relief. Promise Village seeks to determine the core issues and reasons for their drug use in order to help them find better alternatives in coping. The program also eliminates the opportunity for drug use and provides time away from their current peer group who may be influencing them. Promise Village: Home for Children is committed to helping adolescents make better choices for their future.
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