Monday, May 18, 2015


Is your teenager using drugs? Make sure you know the symptoms of teen drug use and how to treat it, before it turns into a life-long addiction battle.

Teen drug use is a huge problem in today's society, and this in turn has an effect on families as a whole. This growing problem is worldwide, and research has shown that at least 50% of all teens in high school have tried an addictive substance of some kind. The reasons for this increase in teenage drug use are in large part a result of the growing accessibility and social acceptance of drugs.
Drugs are more accessible now than they have ever been before, and the Internet is largely to blame for their range of availability. It has created an easy and free way for dealers and users to get hold of each other to buy and sell drugs, and this has resulted in a huge increase in teens that are able to dabble with drugs and alcohol.
Is My Teen Using Drugs?
Drugs and alcohol are not only more accessible, but they have become more socially acceptable, and it is often the case that if a teen does not partake in drug or alcohol use as recreational pastimes that they are then shunned by classmates and friends. Where drugs used to be associated with seediness or people who had very little ambition in life, they are now being touted as cool, and thus they have lost the level of shame and embarrassment that they used to be associated with. This increasing level of peer pressure is one of the main reasons for the growing numbers of teen drug addiction throughout the world. And as such, the questions that every parent is thinking remain: Is my teen using drugs? What signs do I look for to know for sure?
What are the Signs of Teen Drug Use?
There is no sure-fire way to immediately spot teen drug use, as some symptoms associated with teen drug use can be prevalent in a healthy teen who is merely hitting puberty. That being said, as a parent there are symptoms that you should be aware of that may point to drug addiction or abuse in your teenager. The signs of teen drug use manifest themselves in 3 different areas of your teenager's life: in the home, at school and physically.
Drug Abuse Symptoms in the Home
Teen drug use will affect the teen's home life and there are some symptoms that you should be aware of and watch carefully if your teenager starts to display them:
  • ·         Blatant disrespect for family rules and norms
  • ·         Lying about where they have been all day
  • ·         Verbally or physically aggressive
  • ·         Drastic increase or decrease in appetite
  • ·         Constantly asking for money
  • ·         Your valuable items go missing
  • ·         Loss of interest in family time
  • ·         Spending an unusual amount of time in their room

Symptoms of Teen Drug Use at School
School is another area that will be affected if your child has developed a drug addiction problem, and you should be wary if the following signs start to show up in your teenager's school records:
  • ·         A sudden drop in grades
  • ·         Loss of interest in sports
  • ·         Loss of interest in hobbies
  • ·         Skipping out on school
  • ·         Constantly being late for class
  • ·         Reduced cognitive abilities such as memory and concentration
  • ·         Sleeping in class
  • ·         Resistance towards authority
  • ·         Not telling you about school events such as parent teacher days

Physical and Emotional Signs of Teen Drug Use
Drug abuse will also make itself known through changes in your teenager's physical and emotional demeanor, and there are some key symptoms of teen drug use that you should keep an eye on. These include:
  • ·         Extreme mood swings
  • ·         Unusual or concerning behaviour
  • ·         Rebelliousness
  • ·         Paranoia
  • ·         Unexplained weight loss or weight gain
  • ·         Depression and sulkiness
  • ·         Drastic change in appearance
  • ·         Talking about themselves less
  • ·         Constantly tired or over stimulated
  • ·         Red eyes
  • ·         Smell like smoke or too much cologne/perfume

Some parents insist that many of these behaviours are normal in any adolescent who is going through hormonal changes and stress that is associated with puberty and typical teenage issues, but they could also very likely point to teen drug use. It is important that if your teenager is showing most of these symptoms in an exaggerated manner, to address your fears rather than push them under the carpet for fear of creating an argument with your son or daughter. Nipping drug addiction or abuse in the bud as a teenager can set them up for a life free of drug addiction as adults.
What You Should Do if Your Teenager Is Using Drugs
Finding out that your teenager is using drugs can be a huge shock, and many parents react poorly. But it is important to remember that addiction is an illness and that you should treat your teenager firmly, but with love and respect. The first thing you should do as a parent is to talk to your teenager. Creating a meaningful and calm dialogue can make all the difference in how your child will react to your suggestions and advice. However, sometimes these talks do not go as planned, and more often than not teenagers lose their tempers and it ends in shouting and slamming doors. It is incredibly important in this situation that you keep your cool and do not say anything that you will regret later. Have a plan in your mind of what you want to say to your teen before you say it – and stick to it!
Once you have established that your child has a drug problem, you should seek out help at your family doctor or a centre that specialises in teen drug use. Drug addiction is like any bad illness and is best treated by professionals and you, your teenager and your doctor need to decide on the best course of action. In more extreme cases, your teen may need to attend an inpatient rehabilitation centre. In less severe cases, an outpatient treatment facility might be what they need, as these centres will allow the teen to continue going to school while receiving the addiction treatment they need.
The most important thing when dealing with teen drug addiction is to ensure that your teenager knows that you are a safe haven. You need to leave space for them and the family to rebuild a trusting relationship that may have been damaged while they were using. You need to let your teenager know that they are loved unconditionally, but that there are also boundaries and consequences for all of their actions. If you are unsure about how to handle the situation in the best way possible, contact a professional for guidance. 

(These articles are the sole property of “The Cabin Chiang Mai”, they are its original authors.)

Saturday, May 16, 2015


Recent advances in the medical industry have allowed us to prove once and for all that drug addiction is in fact a disease. It is a chronic neurological illness that is characterised by a poor dopamine control system in the brain. People who already have this predisposition in their brain will actively search for something that will give them a greater dopamine rush, to attain the feeling of satisfaction that most people with normal dopamine control will easily find through primal instincts such as eating or drinking.
Once the brain has become accustomed to the dopamine levels released by the consumption of drugs, it becomes harder and harder to find the same levels of pleasure in other areas of the user's everyday life. Cocaine and meth amphetamines are particularly effective at fooling our brains into releasing inordinate amounts of dopamine, and this makes them exceptionally sought after drugs for people who have low dopamine control in their brains.
That being said; poor neurological functions are not the sole cause of drug addiction, and many people who have this predisposition are unlikely to ever fall into drug and alcohol abuse. There are many different factors that play into the causes of addiction, and often it takes a combination of many of these factors to lead to drug addiction.
Risk Factors for Addiction:
Drug addiction is not typically the result of just one problem or issue in the user's life, it can instead be developed from a number of different situations and factors that addicts may have been exposed to.
There are three main areas of risk factors that contribute to drug addiction, and these include biological predispositions, environmental factors and influences, as well as drug choice and delivery method. We will discuss these three risk factors for drug addiction in more detail below.
1. Biological Factors for Addiction:
Genetics. : Drug addiction is almost 50% reliant on genes passed from one generation to another. In fact, children of addicts are approximately eight times more likely to become addicts themselves, than children who come from a family free of drug or alcohol addiction. This does not necessarily mean that every family who has an addict in their family tree will become one, but just that they are more susceptible to the risks of drug addiction than others.
Mental illness: People who suffer from mental illnesses such as depression, PTSD, ADHD and bipolar are more likely to develop a substance abuse disorder. Drugs and alcohol are often used as a crutch by people with mental illnesses, as a coping mechanism for the problems that they may experience because of their disorder. This reliance on drugs or alcohol can frequently result in substance addiction.
Gender: This is still a rather controversial topic, but studies done at addiction treatment centres show that addiction can be gender-based, and there are a larger number of drug and alcohol addicts that are male rather than female.
2. Environmental Risks and Influences on Drug Addiction
Home and family: Home life can be one of the biggest risk factors that can result in drug addiction. Statistics suggest that children who come from abusive or uncaring households are much more likely to become addicts. Drugs and alcohol are used as an emotional substitute for their unhappiness at home.
As well, a household in which children are frequently exposed to drugs or alcohol is very influential on the possible development of substance abuse disorders or alcohol addiction.
Age: Studies have shown that the younger you are when you are exposed to drugs or alcohol, the more likely you are to develop an addiction. When the brain is still growing and developing at an adolescent age, drug use at this time can change the ways in which the brain forms and functions - making addiction more likely later in life.
Peer pressure: Peer pressure is most likely to take place during teenage years when people are vulnerable. The pressure to become socially accepted and liked by peers is one of the most common reasons for an addict to have tried drugs or alcohol in the first place. Addicts are commonly characterised as having poor coping skills, and saying no to their friends who are asking them to try drugs is often extremely difficult. Thus, they will often partake just to make others happy and to feel as if they fit in somewhere.
Stress: Poor coping skills can also lead to the inability to handle day-to-day stress. High levels of stress may drive people to use drugs and alcohol as a means to ‘escape', and as a way to get by in everyday life. This is particularly true for jobs that come with a lot of pressure and stress, such as the stock exchange or banking sectors. Many professionals in these positions turn to drugs as a way to deal with the pressure and long hours.
Drug Type and Administration as Risk Factors for Addiction

Drug type: Addiction can be a result of the kind of drugs that the addict first tried or started to use. Drugs such as heroin and crack are extremely addictive, and someone who uses these kinds of drugs - compared to lower class drugs such as marijuana - is more likely to develop drug dependence down the line.
Drug administration: Drug administration is the way in which the drug is used. Drugs that are injected or smoked have a much faster effect than something eaten, and although the high is intense, it does not last as long as many other ways. So the user will need to use the drug more often to keep their high, and this is a path that easily leads to addiction.

There is no one thing that predominantly leads to drug or alcohol addiction, and most of the time it is a combination of many of the factors above. Addiction is most definitely a disease, but it is also a result of a culmination of risks and factors that some people are exposed to, and the ways in which they are able to deal with these situations. For example, those with a history of heart disease in their family will adhere to a strict diet and exercise routine in order to decrease their chances of developing the same heart problems. For those with genetic or other risk factors for addiction present in their lives, it is important to understand what they are and take the care needed in order to decrease their chances of developing an addiction.

(These articles are the sole property of “The Cabin Chiang Mai”, they are its original authors.)