Teens experiment and use drugs out of curiosity, boredom, insecurity, a feeling of invincibility and peer pressure. Whatever the reason, teenagers not only break the law when they do drugs, but put their lives at risk. Parents can help their kids by looking out for the warning signs and symptoms of teen drug abuse.
Inhalant Drug Use
Some teens like to get high off of inhalants such as toluene found in spray paint, glue and fingernail polish, trichloroethylene found in cleaning products, the hexane in gasoline and the nitrous oxide in whipped cream dispensers. If your child is using inhalants to get high, you will notice that his nose is always runny and he smells of chemicals such as gasoline or paint. Also look for warning signs in his mood and behaviour. Those who abuse inhalants suffer from confusion and irritability.
Depressant Drug Use
Depressant drugs include alcohol, barbiturates and benzodiazepines. Parents who suspect their teens are using depressants should look for dilated pupils, slurred speech, intoxication, drowsiness and loss of motor skills coordination. Does your child seem unable to concentrate on any task? Is he suddenly engaging in risky or promiscuous activities? Does he become confused when you ask him about school or his schedule? Psychological symptoms of depressant use include poor concentration, confusion, lowered inhibitions, poor judgment and depression.
Stimulant Drug Use
If your teenager is taking amphetamines, ecstasy, cocaine or other stimulants, he will sleep less, suffer from paranoia, irritability and excessive happiness. You will also see a decrease in your child's appetite, flushed skin, excessive sweating and a restlessness. People on stimulants also experience hallucinations, both auditory and visual. Your child will show an increase in hostility and aggression, and may even display some suicidal or homicidal tendencies. Be aware that tremors, dizziness, vomiting, abdominal cramps, chest pains and headaches may also be signs that your teen is using stimulants.
Teenagers abusing alcohol, narcotics, stimulants and other drugs may all exhibit some of the same signs and symptoms of drug use. Look out for a sudden or drastic change in your teen's friends, sleeping habits, appearance and performance in school. Kids on drugs often lose interest in their favourite activities. They may quit cheerleading, the football team or a club. You may notice a new secrecy about their whereabouts, actions and possessions. Money in the house might disappear without explanation. In your teenager's room, you may find drug paraphernalia such as a bong, empty prescription bottles or empty over-the-counter medicines such as cough syrup bottles.