If you are a parent, guardian, or an adult that cares for or works directly with teenagers, it is important to know and understand how to identify OTC or “over-the-counter” drug abuse in teens. Many teenagers are starting to become creative in their efforts to “get high”. Parents no longer have to worry about the basic “street” drugs such as marijuana and cocaine. Now, they also have to worry about the abuse of standard over-the-counter medications – especially those that are designed to treat cold symptoms, such as cough. In this guide, you will learn how to identify OTC drug abuse in teenagers.
One of the first changes that you may notice in a teenager that is abusing OTC drugs and other types of substances is a change in the overall appearance. They may begin spending less time on the way that they look. You may notice that they are not as inclined to spending a lot of time on their hair, their makeup, their shaving, or even on tending to their hygiene such as taking a shower, washing their hair, brushing their teeth, or even changing their clothes. All of these signs may indicate that there is a deeper problem going on in the life of your teenager.
The next thing that you will want to pay special attention to are the moods that the teen experiences. There are many different moods that may indicate that your child is abusing various types of substances. They may be quick to anger, or seem to be completely apathetic. They may display a sense of restlessness or appear more tired than usual. They may appear to be extremely happy, or extremely happy. Recognizing mood changes in your teen requires considering their “norm”. If you notice changes, be sure to let your teen know that you have noticed a difference and are concerned. If there is a drug problem, they may not come right out and say it, but showing concern may make them think twice about pursuing the substances in the future.
The teen that is abusing OTC drugs and other types of substances may suddenly experience an unexpected drop in the grades that they receive. Teenagers that typically study and pursue academic excellence may start to display a sense of apathy about their studies. In addition to this, those that are active in academic extracurricular activities may suddenly become less interested in these types of activities. If you notice these events transpiring in the life of your child, it is best to meet with teachers, friends, coaches and others to get their feedback. You should then meet with your teen and discuss any possible issues that may be resulting in the events.
The next sign that your teenager may be abusing OTC drugs is that they will start to request medications for certain symptoms such as a sore throat, a cough, allergies, and the inability to sleep. If you discover medication on their person or among their belongings, they may attempt to rationalize it based on sickness. While there may be a legitimate issue, it is important to stay alert.
Many teens that abuse over-the-counter medications may become secretive when it comes to where they have been, where they are going, their telephone conversations, their belongings and more. If you learn the steps here on how to identify OTC drug abuse in teens, you may be able to put a stop to a potential problem before it gets out of hand. Remember, even OTC drug abuse can be potentially fatal.