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How to Recognize Substance Abuse in Teenagers

Teenage drug, alcohol and substance abuse is a problem that is just as serious as adult substance abuse, if not more so. Teenagers brains are still developing and exposure to drugs and alcohol can potentially affect the brain is it changes through the teenage and young adult years. In addition, “Individuals who begin using drugs as juveniles are at greater risk of becoming addicted compared to those who begin drug use as an adult due to the immaturity of the teenage brain, particularly of that part of the brain that controls impulses.”

Why Teenagers Abuse Substances

Teenagers abuse drugs and alcohol for a variety of reasons. These include:

  • Mental health conditions such as depression or anxiety.
  • A lack of self-esteem.
  • Wanting to fit in with peers/peer pressue. Or conversely, feeling rejected by peers and using substances as a coping mechanism.
  • A lack of knowledge of the consequences of substance abuse.
  • “A family history of substance abuse.”
  • Personal experience of traumatic events.
  • “Lack of nurturing by parents or caregivers.”
  • Difficulty in school.

Signs a Teenager Has a Substance Abuse Problem

The teenage years are a time of drastic change, and these changes can sometimes obscure issues teenagers may be having with substance abuse. Here are some things to look for:

Behavioral Changes

Teens may become more private and reluctant to divulge information about friends or their activities. Severe changes in behavior towards family and friends may also be a sign of a problem.

School Problems

Substance abuse may trigger a lack of motivation which causes teens to have problems in school such as slipping grades or skipping classes.

Changes in Appearance

Most teenagers are very self-conscious about they way they look and present themselves to their peers. If they begin to neglect their appearance, this is another sign of a potential problem.

Increase in Spending

Teenagers may increase their requests for money or take money from locations at home to spend on substances. In severe cases, they may take items such as jewelry to sell.
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About The Bergand Group:

At The Bergand Group in Baltimore, MD our therapists have more than twenty years of experience in the mental health and addiction fields. Our focus is on providing comprehensive mental health care and appropriate care for addictive disorders. We offer both alcohol rehabilitation and drug rehabilitation. If you or someone you know is struggling with alcohol or substance addiction, there is help available. We also offer several other services, including family therapy and counseling. We can help. Contact us today.[/fusion_builder_column][/fusion_builder_row][/fusion_builder_container]

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