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Heroin Addiction in Teens: What Parents Need to Know to Spot the Signs

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Heroin Addiction in Teens: What Parents Need to Know to Spot the Signs

Adolescence. We’ve all been there. You know it can be a confusing and challenging time for your teen, which sometimes puts a strain on your relationship with them. We want the best for our children regardless of how old they are, and that means being educated about the dangers they face, especially when it comes to drugs.

According to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH), 29.7 percent of high school seniors have easy access to heroin, and 12.6 percent of the eighth grade population can easily obtain heroin.

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While heroin addiction may not seem on the radar for your teen, consider these symptoms and behaviors as a point of reference in case you become concerned about your teen being drawn into today’s drug culture.

Physical Signs

Heroin works by altering the brain’s chemistry. Heroin latches on to opioid receptors—parts of the brain associated with pain perception and arousal—and creates a rush of exhilaration. But with that exhilaration comes countless negative side effects. These are just a few of them:

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  • Dry mouth
  • Inability to remain awake or asleep, constantly falling in and out of a sleep stupor
  • Slowed breathing
  • Cold flashes
  • Vomiting
  • Aching muscle pains
  • Restlessness
  • Liver disease
  • Stronger susceptibility to contracting HIV and other life-threatening diseases
  • Malnutrition

If your teen is using heroin, you may be able to spot these signs as well:

  • Bruised and scabbed arms and/or legs
  • Runny nose or nosebleeds
  • Small pupils

Behavioral Symptoms

Of course, physical signs are not always apparent. Sometimes they can easily be attributed to sickness or other environmental factors. If you suspect your teen is using heroin, take a closer look at their behavior. Heroin users often exhibit these behavioral symptoms:

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  • Change in normal routine
  • Decline in personal hygiene
  • Sudden change of interests
  • Drop in academic performance

Teens desperate for drugs will do almost anything to get a fix, including selling off their belongings for drug money. If you notice expensive items disappearing from your house in addition to some of these symptoms, it may be time to talk to your teen.

Self-medicating as a form of stress relief is not uncommon. Your teen may be suffering from mental health issues and has decided to turn to heroin for help, but what teens don’t realize is that drug use often leads to other mental health conditions or exacerbates existing problems. These conditions include but are not limited to the following:

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  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Paranoia
  • Post-traumatic stress
  • Eating disorders

Evidence from Heroin Use

Heroin paraphernalia can include burnt spoons or foil, needles, and rubber tubing, as well as lighters and cotton balls to help cook and inject heroin. Don’t let adolescence be an excuse for accepting secretive behavior. If expensive items begin to go missing or you start spotting suspicious burnt materials in their bedroom or bathroom trashcan, your teen may be experimenting with heroin.

It’s not easy for users to admit they’re struggling with heroin addiction, especially teens. They may be afraid of withdrawing or being rejected by their peers, or they may not even be aware they have a problem at all. In such cases, you need to be there for your teen to do the right thing and reach out for help.

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Spotting addiction is not always easy, but once you recognize there is something wrong, don’t wait for an overdose to occur to address the problem. Teenagers are particularly vulnerable during this stage of their lives. They won’t admit it, but they need your help. If you are concerned your teen may be using heroin or other illicit drugs, contact Pyramid Healthcare to learn more about how we can help you and your teen recover from this life-threatening roadblock.

Featured photo credit: Kamira/Bigstock via bigstockphoto.com

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Last Updated on January 5, 2022

How to Help Your Child to Get Better Grades

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How to Help Your Child to Get Better Grades

Children are most likely to say that they want to just lounge around or rest for a while after spending hours listening to lecture after lecture from their teachers. There is nothing wrong with this if they had a rough day.

What’s disturbing, is if they deliberately stay away from schoolwork or procrastinate when it comes to reviewing for their tests or completing an important science project.

When it seems that it is becoming a habit for your child to put off school work, it’s time for you to step in and help your child develop good study habits to get better grades. It is important for you to emphasize to your child the importance of setting priorities early in life. Don’t wait for them to flunk their tests, or worse, fail in their subjects before you talk to them about it.

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You can help your children hurdle their tests with these 7 tips:

1. Help them set targets

Ask your child what they want to achieve for that particular school year. Tell them to set a specific goal or target. If they say, “I want to get better grades,” tell them to be more specific. It will be better if they say they want to get a GPA of 2.5 or higher. Having a definite target will make it easier for them to undertake a series of actions to achieve their goals, instead of just “shooting for the moon.”

2. Preparation is key

At the start of the school year, teachers provide an outline of a subject’s scope along with a reading list and other course requirements. Make sure that your child has all the materials they need for these course requirements. Having these materials on hand will make sure that your child will have no reason to procrastinate and give them the opportunity to study in advance.

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3. Teach them to mark important dates

You may opt to give them a small notebook where they can jot down important dates or a planner that has dates where they can list their schedule. Ask them to show this to you so you can give them “gentle reminders” to block off the whole week before the dates of an exam. During this week, advise your child to not schedule any social activity so they can concentrate on studying.

4. Schedule regular study time

Encourage your child to set aside at least two hours every day to go through their lessons. This will help them remember the lectures for the day and understand the concepts they were taught. They should be encouraged to spend more time on subjects or concepts that they do not understand.

5. Get help

Some kids find it hard to digest or absorb mathematical or scientific concepts. Ask your child if they are having difficulties with their subjects and if they would like to seek the help of a tutor. There is nothing wrong in asking for the assistance of a tutor who can explain complex subjects.

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6. Schedule some “downtime”

Your child needs to relax from time to time. During his break, you can consider bringing your child to the nearest mall or grocery store and get them a treat. You may play board games with them during their downtime. The idea is to take his mind off studying for a limited period of time.

7. Reward your child

If your child achieves their goals for the school year, you may give them a reward such as buying them the gadget they have always wanted or allowing them to vacation wherever they want. By doing this, you are telling your child that hard work does pay off.

Conclusion

You need to take the time to monitor your child’s performance in school. Your guidance is essential to helping your child realize the need to prioritize their school activities. As a parent, your ultimate goal is to expose your child to habits that will lay down the groundwork for their future success.

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Featured photo credit: Annie Spratt via unsplash.com

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