Signs And Symptoms Of Drug Abuse: Help! I Think My Teenager is Abusing Prescription Drugs

Recent studies are showing that prescription drug abuse is on the increase, especially amongst teens and college students. Many users see this as a safer way to get a high because they are not considered “street drugs.” They may see their parents or other trusted adults taking the, and consider they are safe to use. Also they are easy to get, often from friends or a parents medicine cabinet. Here are some information and tips on what to do if you suspect your teenager is abusing prescription drugs.

What is prescription drug abuse?

The National Institute of Drug Addiction describes prescription drug abuse as “the nonmedical use of prescription drugs.” While many often associate prescription drug abuse with pain pills, it also refers to the abuse of depressants and stimulants.

What are the signs and symptoms of a narcotic addiction?

There are many signs and symptoms for drug abuse. Here are a few things to look for over a period of time. Keep in mind each of these alone does not mean you r teenager is abusing drugs.

1. increased absences from school or work

2. drop in grades, or the caliber of their work

3. a need for a lot more money, and possibly doing illegal things to get money

4. change in their mood, impulsive remarks, moody, angry

5. associating with known drug users, or suspicious friends

6. decreased care in physical appearance, dress, or hygiene

7. unexplained missing prescription drugs from your prescription

What do I do if I suspect my teenager is abusing prescription drugs?

Talk to them and share your concerns. Specify why you think they are abusing prescription drugs. Some will be honest and tell the truth about their behavior. Others may deny it, and tell you that you are crazy. You are not crazy. Regardless of their answer, the next step is to get a substance abuse assessment. This will also relieve you from showing the burden of proof for your suspicions of their drug abuse.

Where do we get help?

Contact a local treatment center that conducts substance abuse assessments. Sometimes they will do mobile assessments, where they can come to you. If you cannot find one, then contact your physician’s office for a referral. Or if the symptoms are severe then go to the nearest emergency room. The level of care that will be recommended will be based upon the drug of choice, frequency of use, history of abuse, and if there are other substances that are being ingested.

It is not easy to admit the possibility that your teenager may be abusing prescription drugs. Nor is it easy to accept that this may be happening. However, your teenager has a greater chance of recovery if they receive treatment now, rather than waiting. Often abuse will turn into an active addiction. Do what you need to do to get them the help they need, as well as the support you need.

Are you looking for more common sense advice, practical solutions and even humor for parenting your teen? I invite you to check out [] where you will find tips for parenting teens, school, curfew, and more!

Terre Grable is a Christian licensed professional counselor. She enjoys helping parents and teens become better friends when they feel like enemies.

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