Substance abuse among teens is a major concern for many parents and, unfortunately, more common among teens than most would like to admit. Substance abuse, such as marijuana and psychedelics use, can have a big impact on their immediate and long-term health and well-being.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), substance abuse can:
- Affect the growth and development of teens, especially brain development
- Occur more frequently with other risky behaviors, such as unprotected sex and dangerous driving
- Contribute to the development of adult health problems, such as heart disease, high blood pressure, and sleep disorders
- Lead to an escalating abuse of substances later in life
So how can you help your teen avoid marijuana or psychedelics abuse?
First it is important to recognize the difference between experimentation and addiction. Experimentation is one of the biggest segments of teen drug use and does not always lead to addiction. Some teens who experiment with pot, alcohol, or psychedelics are curious, pressured by friends, or escaping stress. They experiment and then stop for one reason or another.
How do you know when experimentation has become abuse?
This is a bit more of a challenge. It is often difficult to determine the signs of substance abuse aside from normal teenage behavior changes and emotional challenges; however, there are some common signs that parents can look for:
- Bad grades
- Bloodshot eyes
- Poor hygiene
- Diminished personal appearance
- Laughing for no reason
- Loss of interest in activities
- Avoiding eye contact
- Frequent hunger or “munchies”
- Secretive behavior
- Unusual tiredness
- Missing curfew
- Smell of smoke on breath or clothes
If you are concerned that the use of marijuana or psychedelics has become abusive, then it is time to start a conversation. Unfortunately, one in five parents, who suspect their teen is using drugs, do not intervene and their teens go on to further substance abuse. It is up to you, as the parent, to help their teen stop the abuse.
Just remember, you do not have to start, or continue, this conversation alone. Miguel Brown, Miami Teen Counseling, specializes in marijuana and psychedelics abuse and can help you initiate the conversation wit