10 Signs Your Child Uses Drugs and How to Trace Those Signs

Are you worried that your teenage kid might be using drugs? Well the thing is – anyone can get addicted and people belonging to the younger age group could be the earliest ones to get affected by it. That is why teens are more prone to addiction than adults. Researchers explain this cause by pinpointing out the differences in the way an adult brain functions compared to the teenage brain. According to researcher Bita Moghaddam, of the University of Pittsburgh, the part of the adolescent brain that is responsible for the execution of actions and habit formation gets tapped directly by a reward gained from drug abuse. The reward plays a key role in influencing a teenager when it comes down to taking a decision. To understand the process in which an adolescent brain functions, let’s take a closer look at it first.

Looking Inside the Adolescent Brain: How Things Work When Addiction Affects

With special reference to the reward centers, it is said that the brains of excessive gamers are similar to that of an addict. This reward center is termed as the ventral striatum. It is from here that all the ‘feel good’ chemicals get released when humans do things necessary for survival and reproduction. Some of the examples are eating and mating. In such cases, the ventral striatum part of the human brain becomes overactive. Some of the reasons behind such reactions could be the brain’s response to non-useful stimuli agents such as alcohol, cocaine, sex, gambling, etc. This taking place of more activities in the reward region might be the mechanism by which teenagers develop some of the behavioral addictions. It is believed that overactive reward centers could be the cause that leads young people to become addicted to drug abuse.

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There are some of you who would take this lightly and come up with reasonable explanations such as “ there is nothing wrong in a little bit of experimentation” or “I too tried it out when I was young”. However, this will not rule out the fact that times have changed and so have the drugs, such as marijuana become stronger than it used to be in the old days.

The thing is that, drug abuse might be affecting the body and the brain of your teenage kid, which are still in their stages of development. This close contact with foreign substances could lead to detrimental effect on your kid, which in turn impact their education, activities and even their behaviors in the society. Therefore, adolescence is one of the most crucial stages during which adults must pay more attention to their young ones. There are a number of symptoms to find out whether your teen is an addict or not. However, the difficulty is that, some of these signals are masked and hence remain invisible to your sight. Look out for some of these warning signs if you want to be certain that your kid is not an addict yet.

Beware: Have you seen some of these signs of addiction in your teenage kid lately?

  1. Bloodshot eyes or pupils that are of unusual size – These are some of the most familiar side-effects of drug usage and they seldom go unnoticed. Lack of sleep make them appear tired and less drawn.
  1. Sudden weight loss or gain – Marijuana smokers are generally beset upon by voracious eating. They tend to eat almost anything that their sight beholds. You might come home to discover that your fridge is empty and wonder who could have been deadly starving, only to realize that it was your kid. On the other hand, drugs like cocaine or Adderall tend to inhibit your kid’s appetite. You will suddenly notice that they are skipping their meals or dramatically losing their weight.
  1. Change sleeping patterns – This means the inability of your teen to wake up or go to sleep at the usual hours.
  1. Deterioration in appearance – Addicted youths do not pay much attention to their appearance or even to their hygiene. You would notice their clothes to be unusually unclean and misplaced.
  1. Drop in school attendance – Addiction affects the behavior in your teen and the life that he/she leads. A drop in school or college grades are some of the most identifiable signs to watch out for. However, these are the things that might not seem noticeable. Talk to the school teacher about your kid’s performance in the class to pick up some clues that will confirm your doubts.
  1. Complaints from classmates or co-workers – Sudden mood swings and change in personality are some of the common effects of drug abuse on an addict. So it would not be surprising if you hear your kid falling into trouble with classmates and other friends. You might even notice a dramatic change in their friend circle.
  1. Increase in desire for more privacy – You know something is amiss, when your teenager kid suddenly prefers being isolated instead of getting social. Drug addicts might also lock themselves up in their bedroom and often tend to sleep at odd hours during the day time, while staying awake at night.
  1. Getting into frequent fights, arguments or any kind of illegal activities – Notice being welcomed by an exaggerated behavior or defense to ward you off from entering the bedroom.
  1. Sudden mood swings – You might even witness the drastic change in their behavior with friends and family members. These include – snapping back at you or getting into unnecessary fights and arguments. They might even get grouchy or maybe mope around in lazy mood.
  1. Lack of motivation or inability to focus – Having a hard time in trying to concentrate or lack of interest in the hobbies (that were once his/her favorite) might be what you would be trying to keep a note of.

The symptoms are many and some of the traits and techniques that you can apply to track them down are:

#1 – Using Your Nose

Use the power of your nose that can work like a diligent dog. Have a face-to-face conversation with your teen when he/she returns home from a night out or party with friends. If your kid had been consuming alcohol, smoking cigarettes or marijuana; then it would be hanging around in his/her breath, hair or clothing.

#2 – Taking a Closer Look

If you are not aware, then there is something that you must know already. Pharm parties is one of the 3 new dangerous drug habits that could be found in teens. When you look closer, notice the eyes, the face and the cheeks. Red and heavy lidded eyes could indicate that he/she might have been smoking marijuana pots. Diluted eyes might indicate consumption of alcohol. Your kid might even have flushed red cheeks and would find it difficult to focus when talking.

#3 – Noticing Sudden Mood Swings

Pay attention as to how your teen is acting after he/she returns home. Is he unusually clumsy? Is he tripping over his own feet or stumbling into walls and furniture? Does he look sullen, tired and withdrawn from the rest? Watch out for these as they could be the signs that your kid could be consuming substances of illicit drug abuse like marijuana or alcohol.

#4 – Taking Note of the Deceitful and Secretive Behavior

Does your teen sound unusually fishy lately? Is he/she always having a string of excuses to justify an irresponsible behavior? Does she sound very vague in her excuses whenever you question her about her whereabouts? Figure out why he/she is acting so lately before it’s too late. Something is definitely wrong!

#5 – Monitoring Driving Activities and the Car

The car can give you many clues about a teenager, if the kid is indeed using illicit substances of drug abuse. If he/she had been driving recklessly (which could be the after effect of illicit substance consumption), then check the car for any new dents. Ask him/her about it. If he/she claims to know nothing about it but you are suspicious about something, then examine the inside of the car as well. Do you smell alcohol or marijuana? Are there any bottles, pipes or some kind of drug paraphernalia hidden somewhere on the car floor or in the glove box? Confront him or her and explain why you are so concerned.

Parents can play a big role in helping their teenager kid recover from drug addiction faster. Actor Ashley Hamilton too was once a drug addict until his dad came to his rescue.

The medial prefrontal cortex part of the brain belonging to a teenager works differently from that of an adult. This explains why an adolescent could sometimes act stupid and not care about it. Without proper guidance, your teen could go astray and never find a way back to recovery. You could however change the course to build a better future for your kid. Fight addiction by choosing the right solution or treatment for your kid now!

Contributed by http://artesianrecovery.com/

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