Drugs and alcohol are a way of life for some people. As a result, they aren’t able to hold down a job or raise a family. Of course, you are probably not too worried about raising a family at the moment; you are probably more worried about the grades you are going to get in school. Nevertheless, it’s important to be aware of the impact that drugs can have on your life. The lure of drugs and alcohol is strong for most teenagers, as these represent a seemingly safe way to rebel. The big question is, however, are drugs and alcohol safe?
Naturally, your parents will want you to be drug and alcohol free. They also want you to do well in school and be successful in your own way. The vast majority of parents also want you to be happy. You, on the other hand, want to fit in your peers and try new and exciting things, and this can include drugs and alcohol.
If your parents have talked to you about drugs and alcohol, they may have told you that these substances are not safe without really explaining why. There are, of course, some drugs that are so dangerous that the dangers they pose are self-evident. Heroin and cocaine are two examples of these kinds of drugs. Heroin is either injected or smoked, and it effectively sedates you. Of course, injecting a homemade substance into your body is not the best way to look after your health. In addition, a heroin overdose is often lethal if untreated, and it can take only a few minutes to kill you.
Cocaine, on the other hand, is often snorted or smoked, and it provides a very powerful feeling of euphoria. This puts pressure on the heart and nervous system, which may lead to heart failure, even in the healthiest of individuals. In the United States, around 6,000 people die this way each year, and nearly 500,000 people are admitted to the hospital for cocaine overdose, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse.
Other drugs initially seem less harmful. Marijuana, for example, has caused no confirmed deaths in the United States. Marijuana is a drug that many people try just a few times. Unfortunately, some people find they like it a lot and start smoking it at every opportunity. This means they end up focusing solely on the drug rather than on their lives. Living for a drug makes life seem pointless. At some point in your life, you will almost certainly be offered marijuana. When you make the choice whether or not to try it, just be aware that while it isn’t commonly believed to be physically addictive, it can be psychologically addictive.
Prescription drugs are also often abused by teenagers. Adderall, Ritalin, and OxyContin are three commonly abused drugs. These have more serious side effects than many people realize. Adderall is an amphetamine that produces a high. It also puts strain on the heart, just like cocaine. In addition, repeated use can lead to insomnia, irritability and tiredness. Ritalin is more dangerous than cocaine when it is crushed and snorted. It binds a lot more strongly to various receptors in the brain than cocaine does, so it produces an extremely intense high, but the resulting low is also extremely harsh. Again, it puts a lot of pressure on the heart, which can lead to heart failure.
OxyContin, on the other hand, is a drug that is most commonly abused by teenagers. It is an opiate, so it produces a feeling of sedation. This can seem quite attractive if you’re going through painful breakup or if you want to feel calm or mellow. Because OxyContin is an opiate, an overdose is virtually identical to a heroin overdose. There were around 12,000 accidental deaths caused by opiates such as OxyContin in 2006, according to the CDC. Just like most opiates, OxyContin is addictive, which can lead to you doing things you never thought you would do, including stealing and secretly charging things to your parents’ credit cards to fund your habit.
The younger you are, the more you will react to a drug, and, according to the University of Utah, approximately 10 percent of those who experiment with drugs will become addicted. The risks are the same whether you are taking a legitimate prescription drug, alcohol or an illicit drug. This is why a number of manufacturers do not recommend drugs for use by people under certain ages, as they cannot always be sure how younger people will react. Alcohol is no different. The younger you are, the faster you will get drunk. This puts you at greater risk for alcohol poisoning, and it is not surprising that the majority of emergency room visits for alcohol poisoning involve teenagers or young adults.
Just like many other drugs, alcohol also has a great potential for abuse. Alcohol abuse does not necessarily result in alcohol addiction, although one can lead to another. The younger you are when you start drinking, the more likely you are to become dependent on alcohol in later life.
How Do I Know if I Have an Alcohol Addiction?
According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, addiction is defined as the continuous use of a substance despite its negative effects. Teenagers who have a drinking problem find that they consume alcohol whenever they can. This might mean coming into class drunk, or it might mean drinking alcohol to calm themselves before an interview or a stressful test. This is, unfortunately, linked to poor grades, as students cannot perform well while intoxicated. While this may not seem like a problem to some, it does limit your options in the future. Most jobs, including the basic ones, require a high school diploma, and failing to possess one means you will find it hard to get a job.
A large number of teenagers start drinking from a very early age, sometimes as young as 12 or 13. In general, they drink because they are bored and they enjoy the illicit thrill of drinking underage. Unfortunately, drinking at this age can lead to severe health problems, particularly as puberty progresses.
The key signs of alcohol addiction include:
- An inability to quit
- Giving up activities instead of giving up alcohol
- Spending a lot of time either drinking, recovering from alcohol, or looking forward to alcohol
- Using alcohol even though it is affecting friendships and relationships
If any of these signs are familiar, it is time to seek help. This can involve talking to someone you trust, such as a teacher or a friend, talking to your parents, or contacting a teen drug rehab center for help. You can find more about drug rehab by calling us at 1-888-287-0471 and speaking to an advisor.
Admitting that you need help is not a sign of weakness. Instead, it will be one of the hardest things that you have ever done. Once you have done this, the hard part is over, and you can concentrate on rebuilding your life and creating a bright future. Rehab will help you overcome the addiction by weaning you off alcohol, instituting a plan to help you stay off alcohol, and providing you with the necessary counseling and support that you need to stay clean.
The long-term problems caused by alcohol abuse are well documented; they include potential liver failure, irritability, depression, anxiety and shakiness. This is why it’s imperative for your own health and the safety of others around you that you get help as soon as you realize you have an addiction.
How Do I Know If I Am Addicted to Drugs?
Drug addiction is very similar to alcohol addiction. Again, you may be addicted to drugs if:
- You cannot give them up.
- You find yourself focusing on getting the next hit rather than what you are supposed to be doing.
- You keep on using drugs even though they are affecting your relationships.
- You end up developing a tolerance to the drugs, meaning you have to take more to achieve the same effect.
Because different drugs work in different ways, it is vital that whomever you talk to knows exactly what you’re addicted to. This will help you decide what treatment is necessary. According to Goodman and Gilman’s The Pharmacological Basis of Therapeutics, experiencing withdrawal symptoms is frequently the only physical sign that you are addicted to drugs, although there are plenty of circumstantial signs as well. Therefore, a stay in a treatment clinic will allow you to withdraw comfortably from the drug. Depending on the drug you are addicted to, you may be given drugs to manage withdrawal, something to eliminate cravings, or a medication that reduces the effect of the drug you are addicted to.
If you are one of the estimated eight percent of people who have a drug or alcohol addiction, you need to find help immediately. You can ask for help from a confidential helpline if you do not want to approach your parents about this, and the advisor on the other end of the phone can tell you what your options are. Call us at 1-888-287-0471 today.