How and When To Talk To Your Teenager About Substance Use

Many countries around the world, including Canada, have noticed a spike in substance abuse over the last few years.

Whether these drugs are being used for social reasons, as a way to fit in and socialize with their friends, or as a way to cope with life’s stressors, the amount of teenage substance abuse has risen significantly in recent years.

If a teen or young adult has found that drinking alcohol, smoking weed, or vaping helps them cope with anxiety and stress, then chances are they’ll continue using these substances, which could lead to serious drug addiction.

Rather than finding a healthy way to cope, like playing sports or seeing friends, many teens turn to cannabis or alcohol to manage their stress.

In the last year, statistics have shown that 42% of Ontario students have used illicit drugs and 83% of high school students drink alcohol, with 49% of them admitting to binge drinking.

The Effects of Marijuana, Alcohol, and Vapes

When teens and young adults take these drugs, the last thing on their minds is how it can negatively affect their bodies.

Cannabis is mainly used for recreational or medical purposes and can be ingested in a variety of ways. The different ways you ingest marijuana can affect the way your body responds to it.

If the substance was inhaled into your lungs, then the compounds enter your bloodstream right away and the effects of the THC are almost immediate.

However, if you eat or drink any cannabis-containing substances, the compounds will need to pass through your digestive system first. The effects can start after minutes or hours.

Other than the feeling of pleasure, THC is responsible for medical effects as well, which include pain, nausea, insomnia, and a reduced appetite. The continued abuse of this product can also cause long-term effects such as memory problems, impaired judgment, and slowed reaction time.

Alcohol’s impact on your body starts from the second you take the first sip.

Although an occasional drink doesn’t cause much concern, the effects of continually drinking alcohol takes their toll on the body.

Some of the most common effects are:

• Behavior changes
• Liver damage
• Slurred speech and fatigue
• Hallucinations and blackouts
• Heart damage and cancer

Of course, the severity of the effects on your body depends on the amount and frequency of alcohol that is consumed.

Since vaping is a relatively new concept, the full extent of the damages it can cause is still unknown, however, one thing is sure, it’s harmful to the human body.

Vaping allows nicotine to enter the body, which is highly addictive and can cause slow brain development in teens and can affect their memory, concentration, and self-control.

Regardless of what you vape, there are still plenty of health risks, many of them sharing the same effects that smoking cigarettes has on your body.

Signs Your Teenagers May Be Taking Drugs and How to Address the Topic With them

Figuring out whether or not your teen has a substance abuse problem can be quite challenging, as some signs are typical teen behavior.

There are some behavioral and appearance changes that you should look out for if you suspect that your teen is using dangerous substances.

Shifts in mood or personality can be an indicator that something is wrong. You may notice that your child has become more silent, withdrawn, and less motivated. Opposite to that, you may notice your child has become more secretive, deceitful, and hyperactive.

Keep in mind, however, that these signs are also symptoms of mental health issues, so be sure not to jump to conclusions.

Some behavioral changes to look out for are becoming unusually clumsy, constantly locking doors and avoiding eye contact, and disappearing for long periods of time.

A decline in your teenagers’ physical health can also be an indicator of teenage substance abuse.

If you can check any of the above symptoms, then it’s time to have a conversation with your child. But how do you approach the topic with them?

The most important thing to remember when talking with your teenager about anything is to always keep an open mind, no matter what the subject is.

Starting the conversation with a screaming match is no way to get them to open up to you. In fact, they’re more likely to become more closed off and keep things from you.

If you have a rocky relationship with your teen, get an opportunity to spend some quality time with them and build a trusting relationship. Be sure to let them know that their opinions and feelings matter.

When approaching the subject of drug abuse, make sure to talk about the negative health impacts that nicotine, marijuana, and alcohol have on the body. Most importantly, listen to what they want to say and don’t disregard their opinions.

Clearly communicate that you do not want them to be using these unsafe substances. Discuss how you can help them get out of this dangerous routine and assure them that they are in a safe space.

Get Your Teenager the Help They Need With Capital Choice Counselling

Not only does drug addiction impact the person using harmful substances, but it also impacts the people around them.

Counselling has been proven to be an effective way to deal with addiction and helping patients get on the right track.

Our counselors at Capital Choice Counselling have extensive experience in this area and are prepared to help anyone who walks through their doors.

Get in touch with us today and find the perfect counselor for you.