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September 24, 2015

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Is Your Teen Using? Learn to Spot the Signs and Take Action

There is no easy way to know if your teen is using drugs, or if they are simply displaying typical age-related behavior. However, if you are a parent who simply suspects your teen may be abusing either prescription or recreational drugs, than you probably know more than you think. Never underestimate the innate feeling something is wrong.

If you’ve noticed any of the below signs of drug abuse, we strongly recommended you seek a professional assessment from an expert. Not all teens will “fess up” to abusing drugs, but if you are concerned your son or daughter isn’t being upfront, commit to bringing in external help.

Know the Warning Signs

Drug abuse is a serious issue that cannot be ignored or trivialized. If left untreated, it can lead to dependence and serious life complications. It is important to recognize the signs of drug abuse:

Physical Signs

  • Bloodshot eyes
  • Nosebleeds
  • Changes in appetite or sleep patterns
  • Shakes, tremors

Behavioral Signs

  • Skipping class, declining grades
  • Missing money, valuables, prescription drugs
  • Demanding more privacy, locking doors
  • Frequently getting into trouble, arguments, fist fights
  • Sudden use of mints, mouthwash and/or eye drops

Psychological Signs

  • Sudden mood changes, irritability
  • Unusual hyperactivity or agitation
  • Appears fearful, withdrawn, anxious
  • Lack of motivation, appears lethargic, inability to focus
  • Unexplained secrecy

Teaming Up with Professionals

At Pacific Quest, Horticultural Therapy is not only an intervention but it is also an overarching philosophy. We believe the artistry of gardening has much to teach us about the art of living. Our clinicians and wellness teams present garden therapy in a way that focuses on health and positive change while immersing the student in nature. We administer a client-centered treatment model that focuses on the primary goal of improving health while inspiring change.

Horticultural Therapy integrates gardening activities with traditional counseling techniques that meet specific therapeutic intentions. It is especially targeted at promoting a sense of well-being by instilling feelings of hope, accomplishment and fulfillment. Watching a garden grow is a metamorphic experience. However, it is not one they go through alone. By working with a team, students learn they are not isolated in their problems. They learn to support each other, as well as to lean on each for support they may need themselves.

Taking Action

The action you take to help your teen may save his or her young life. A good place to start is by coming straight out and asking them if they are using drugs or have been offered them from their friends. Reassure them you are on their side, whatever the answer.

Next, speak with a mental health professional and discuss the options available to you and your teen. At Pacific Quest, we understand the challenges you and your family are experiencing. Horticultural therapy is especially useful for promoting a sense of well-being among adolescents.

For more information on the warning signs of drug abuse, download our guide here.
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