The last thing any parent wants is for their teenager to become addicted to drugs. Unfortunately, it does happen, and it can happen to any teen. In fact, your teen doesn't even need to know a drug dealer to to get drugs. They might be able to find them in your medicine cabinet. Every day, approximately 2,500 teens in the United States abuse a prescription pain reliever for the first time. Learn how to spot the warning signs of prescription painkiller abuse and what to do if you think your teen may have a drug problem.
One of the main reasons that prescription painkillers have such a strong hold over addicts is because withdrawal symptoms can begin within hours of discontinued use. If your teen is experiencing physical withdrawal symptoms, he or she may have bouts of diarrhea or vomiting, cold chills, fatigue, and/or body aches. So, it's easy to mistake the withdrawal symptoms for a random virus or stomach bug. While the occasional illness probably isn't cause for concern, if your teen seems to be sick frequently and the illnesses that he or she is experiencing are resolved quickly, there is a chance your teen might be abusing prescription painkillers.
Yes, it's normal for teens to be moody, but it's not normal for there to be drastic changes in your teen's behavior. Teenagers who are abusing prescription painkillers might experience erratic mood swings, unexplained anxiety, or become irritated easily. Also, if your teen is abusing painkillers, you might notice sudden changes in his or her relationships with friends and family members. You might also notice that your teen has suddenly become more secretive and/or his or her bedroom is suddenly off limits.
Warning Signs in Your Home
If your teen is abusing prescription painkillers, you might find warning signs around your house. It's important to keep track of your own prescriptions so that you notice if any of your pills are missing, which could indicate your teenager is taking them. Also, if you find empty pill bottles with someone else's information on them or the label torn off, it's a good indication that your teen is abusing prescription drugs. Teens who abuse prescription painkillers may not take the pills orally. Instead, they might crush the pills and snort them, in which case you might find small straws or rolled up dollar bills laying around your house.
Prescription painkillers can be highly addictive so it's important that you know the signs of abuse and addiction. If you believe that your teen might be abusing painkillers, you should contact a children's substance abuse counselor like Lifeline in your area to find out how you can help your teen overcome his or her addiction.
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