Teen Drug Addiction
Benzodiazepines, also known as benzos, are depressant, psychoactive drugs. While doctors may prescribe benzodiazepines to treat various disorders, repeated use, large doses, or abuse of benzos can result in a variety of negative side effects.
Teens use benzodiazepines for the same reasons they use alcohol: to relax, to relieve stress, to reduce inhibitions and to get high.
Signs of teen benzodiazepine abuse.
Teens who abuse benzodiazepines behave similarly to alcoholics. They may have slurred speech, staggering walks and seem confused or "hung over." Teens who drive while using benzodiazepines are just as impaired as drunk drivers.
Chronic teenaged users often seem irritable, confused, depressed and overly sedated. They may experience memory loss, tremors and insomnia. If your teen is using drugs, he may be tired and withdrawn. He may acquire a new group of friends or become secretive and uncooperative. His grades may drop as he loses interest in school, pastimes and hobbies. He may also display unusual sleep habits. You may find butane lighters, pipes and other drug paraphernalia in his possession. He may steal money from you, run up your credit cards and sell personal and household items to raise funds for a drug habit.
If these behaviors describe your child, it's time to seek professional treatment.
The danger of benzodiazepine abuse.
Benzodiazepines react with alcohol, sleeping pills, painkillers, female hormones and cold and hay fever medications. These reactions put teens in imminent danger and increase their chances of death by overdose.
Dangerous drug cocktails pose a particular threat to teens, who often have no idea what they are taking, let alone the specific dangers of different drug combinations. Some teens even have pharm parties, where everyone shares different prescription drugs and alcoholic drinks.
Treating teen benzodiazepine abuse.
Treatment of teen benzodiazepine addiction must begin with detoxification, the necessary process of ridding the body of drugs. Withdrawal symptoms, the body's response to sudden cessation of drug use, typically follow. Teens in withdrawal from benzodiazepines should be medically supervised so that benzos can be safely, gradually tapered and temporarily substituted by other drugs.
While cocaine is not one of the more widely abused drugs by teenagers, teen cocaine use does exist and is extremely dangerous. In a recent study, 3.4% of tenth grade students and 5.2% of high school seniors reported using cocaine in the past year. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, about 6 million people over the age of 12 have used cocaine at least once in the past year.
Cocaine use causes a host of negative short-term and long-term effects. One of the most serious is cocaine tolerance, or the process of requiring increasingly larger doses of cocaine to achieve the initial high. Tolerance increases one’s chance of overdose and death. But cocaine isn't just dangerous in the long run. Even first-time users, especially those who mix cocaine with alcohol, risk sudden death.
Warning signs of cocaine use.
It is important to know the warning signs of potential cocaine usage, as teenagers are at high risk for addiction. Warning signs include but are not limited to:
- Red, bloodshot eyes during periods of non-use
- Runny nose or frequent sniffing
- Change of eating habits and weight loss
- Change of sleeping habits (ie. sleeps all day and is up all night)
- A change in friends (or acquiring friends of different ages)
- Changes in behavior, such as flunking out of school or not going to school
- Frequently needing money and stealing it to support habit
- Losing interest in things they used to like to do, such as family activities
- Acting withdrawn or depressed; tired and careless about personal appearance
How to get help.
Teens suffering from cocaine addiction require immediate, professional treatment. Caron’s teen-oriented rehabilitation programs can help.
The first step in cocaine addiction treatment is detoxification, which is often medically supervised. Once the body is ridded of all drugs and alcohol, a comprehensive rehabilitation program that addresses all aspects of addiction (psychological, biological, social, physiological, occupational, etc.) should be implemented.
While there are no specific pharmacotherapies available for the treatment of cocaine addiction, some studies have shown that, especially in serious cases, medications such as amantadine and bromocriptine effectively reduce cravings, normalize sleep and increase energy.
Most successful drug rehab plans will incorporate some form of behavioral therapy. Cognitive behavioral therapy and addiction counseling, for example, focus on identifying the underlying causes of addiction and teaching the addict to identify, avoid and cope with relapse triggers. Behavioral therapy is an important step toward long-term cocaine abstinence.
Cocaine Support Groups
Many support groups, such as Cocaine Anonymous (CA) and Narcotics Anonymous (NA), have proven to benefit treatment and ongoing recovery.
Struggling with cocaine addiction? Help is here.
No one should have to face cocaine addiction alone. Contact Caron today for more information on how to get help and recover from cocaine addiction for good