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Drug Abuse and Addiction
SIGNS, SYMPTOMS, AND HELP FOR DRUG PROBLEMS AND SUBSTANCE ABUSE

Some people are able to use recreational or prescription drugs without ever experiencing negative consequences or addiction. For many others, substance use can cause problems at work, home, school, and in relationships, leaving you feeling isolated, helpless, or ashamed. If you’re worried about your own or a friend or family member’s drug use, it’s important to know that help is available. Learning about the nature of drug abuse and addiction—how it develops, what it looks like, and why it can have such a powerful hold—will give you a better understanding of the problem and how to best deal with it. Understanding drug use, drug abuse, and addiction

People experiment with drugs for many different reasons. Many first try drugs out of curiosity, to have a good time, because friends are doing it, or in an effort to improve athletic performance or ease another problem, such as stress, anxiety, or depression. Use doesn’t automatically lead to abuse, and there is no specific level at which drug use moves from casual to problematic. It varies by individual. Drug abuse and addiction is less about the amount of substance consumed or the frequency, and more to do with the consequences of drug use. No matter how often or how little you’re consuming, if your drug use is causing problems in your life—at work, school, home, or in your relationships—you likely have a drug abuse or addiction problem.

Top 8 Reasons why Teens Try Alcohol and Drugs
There is no single reason for teenage drug use and alcohol use. Dr. Neil I. Bernstein In How to Keep Your Teenager Out of Trouble and What to Do if You Can't, Dr. Neil I. Bernstein details some of the core issues and influences behind teenage drug and alcohol use. It’s important that you, as a parent, understand these reasons and talk to your kids about the dangers of drinking and using drugs. Other People — Teenagers see lots of people using various substances. They see their parents and other adults drinking alcohol, smoking, and, sometimes, abusing other substances. Also, the teen social scene often revolves around drinking and smoking pot. Sometimes friends urge one another to try a drink or smoke something, but it's just as common for teens to start using a substance because it's readily available and they see all their friends enjoying it. In their minds, they see drug use as a part of the normal teenage experience. Popular Media — Forty-two percent of teens agreed that movies and TV shows make drugs seem like an OK thing to do, according to a 2003 study. Not surprisingly, 12- to 17-year-olds who viewed three or more "R" rated movies per month were seven times more likely to smoke cigarettes, six times more likely to use marijuana, and five times more likely to drink alcohol, compared to those who hadn't watched "R" rated films (Amy Khan 2005). Escape and Self-Medication — When teens are unhappy and can't find a healthy outlet for their frustration or a trusted confidant, they may turn to chemicals for solace. Depending on what substance they're using, they may feel blissfully oblivious, wonderfully happy, or energized and confident. The often rough teenage years can take an emotional toll on children, sometimes even causing depression, so when teens are given a chance to take something to make them feel better, many can’t resist. Boredom — Teens who can't tolerate being alone, have trouble keeping themselves occupied, or crave excitement are prime candidates for substance abuse. Not only do alcohol and marijuana give them something to do, but those substances help fill the internal void they feel. Further, they provide a common ground for interacting with like-minded teens, a way to instantly bond with a group of kids. Rebellion — Different rebellious teens choose different substances to use based on their personalities. Alcohol is the drug of choice for the angry teenager because it frees him to...
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