Adolescents are under a tremendous amount of pressure every day. Not only are they going through dramatic internal changes, but they’re trying to find their place in their peer group, as well. If the internal pressures weren’t enough, peer pressure can be overwhelming. With all of this going on, even teens who seem to have everything under control can turn to drugs. Once an adolescent takes that first step, it’s easy to get caught up and lose control.
If you’ve been noticing your adolescent behaving strangely lately, it may be time to examine the situation a little more closely. Teenage behavior is often erratic and seemingly wild mood swings can be perfectly normal during this difficult phase of development. However, it’s important to know what to look for if you think your teen might be experimenting with drugs. After all, the sooner the problem is diagnosed, the better.
- Sudden changes in relationships with family or friends
- Decreased motivation or lack of interest in school or hobbies
- Inability to focus
Changes in Appearance
- Messy or unkempt appearance
- Sudden lack of personal hygiene
Problems at School
- Drop in academic performance
- Missed homework assignments
- Complaints and concerns from teachers and counselors
- Dramatic weight loss or gain
- Frequent runny nose not related to sickness or allergies
- Frequent headaches
- Nose bleeds
Each of these indicators, taken by itself, may not be a sign of a serious problem. However, if you’ve noticed more than one of these symptoms, it’s probably worth examining more closely. The first thing to do, if you think there may be a problem, is to sit down and have a conversation with your child. Be calm and direct but not accusatory — try not to let it turn into a confrontation. If your suspicions are confirmed, there are things that you can do to help your teen get back on track.
Talk to your teen about the issue
— There may be underlying issues that are causing your child to turn to drugs. If the underlying issues can be resolved, it will be easier to eliminate the resulting drug problem.
Set firm rules and create consequences
– Make sure your teen understands that there are definite repercussions if they continue to use drugs. Most importantly, don’t make hollow threats or fail to follow through your adolescent breaks the rules.
Keep an eye on your teen’s activities
– Keep track of where they go and who they’re hanging around. Also,
check potential hiding places for drugs and paraphernalia. If your teen becomes angry, explain that this lack of privacy is a result of their drug use.
Get professional help
– While your child may be inclined to push back when you’re trying to talk to them, they may not react in the same way while talking with a therapist, a guidance counselor, or a teacher. If the problem has gone too far, you may need to contact someone who has experience dealing with teen drug use —if the situation has progressed beyond experimentation, you may be in over your head.
A teen rehab wilderness program like the one at Outback Wilderness Therapy is designed for just such a situation. Contact us a call to find out if our program is right for your troubled teen. We’re here to help.