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By LifeLine

5 Signs Your Teen Needs Opioid Addiction Help

As a parent, knowing the signs of drug abuse in your teens can be life saving. Here are 5 signs your teen needs opioid addiction help and how to get it.

Are you worried that your teen could be struggling with an opioid addiction?

It’s an epidemic that’s sweeping the country. Around 20,000 people in America die every year from opioid overdoses. That’s why it’s recently been declared a public health emergency.

The signs can be hard to spot. In this article, we’ll equip you with everything you need to identify someone who needs opioid addiction help.

How to Know When Someone Needs Opioid Addiction Help

Read on to find out how to know when your teen is using opioids.

1. Changes in Sleeping Patterns

A teen who is abusing opioids will almost certainly exhibit drastic changes in sleeping patterns.

Opioids have a depressive effect, which also results in fatigue. However, that doesn’t necessarily mean that they will be sleeping more. In fact, it’s likely that they are getting much less restful sleep.

Abuse of any substance can disrupt sleeping patterns, and in this sense, opioids are no different. These drugs can cause both sedation and wakefulness, which allows them to wreak havoc sleeping habits, energy levels, and emotional well-being.

The side effects of opioids, such as nausea, restlessness and cold sweats, can prevent an addict from being able to fall asleep. They may suffer from insomnia, and when they do fall asleep, may wake up frequently.

All this contributes to low energy levels, drowsiness, and irritability.

2. Changes in Mood

One of the most telling signs that a teenager needs opioids addiction help is drastic changes in mood or personality.

You may be surprised to find that your once bubbly and outgoing son or daughter has now become withdrawn and anti-social. Mood swings may be frequent, and although they could easily be put down to typical teenage life, they shouldn’t be overlooked.

In some cases, the behavior of addicts may even become aggressive. When you reach out to them in an attempt to get to the bottom of their apparent emotional issues, they can become hostile. This drives a wedge between family members, pushing the distance even further apart.

Depression is another red flag. The links between opioids  abuse and depression are well-documented and thought to be caused by a number of factors. The first is a change in hormones, as well as the way the brain responds to pleasure and reward.

The second is that opioid abuse can lead to feelings of despair, anxiety, and isolation. Those already suffering from depression are especially susceptible to addiction, as they’re likely to use the drugs as a form of self-medication.

Unfortunately, it can become a vicious cycle. Opioid use increases the risk of depression, and depression increases the risk of addiction. Once a teenager is stuck in this cycle, it can be difficult to shake them out of it.

The combination of depression and addiction can cause suicidal thoughts. When opioid addiction help isn’t sought soon enough, sufferers can lose their lives to suicide and overdoses. This is the tragic reality for many families in America.

3. Poor Concentration

A teen who’s suffering from opioid addiction may have trouble concentrating and engaging in conversations and activities.

They often also lose enthusiasm for hobbies and friends they once cared about. They may no longer have any motivation for their studies, or things they once enjoyed.

In fact, they may be completely indifferent to anything and everything. This can be alarming for a parent. Trying to talk to them can be just as frustrating, as it may seem fruitless.

When questioned, opioid-addicted teens are often quiet and unresponsive. This makes it impossible to get through to them. As a result, parents are left feeling powerless to intervene.

If you’re having trouble connecting with your teen, it’s best to seek professional opioid addiction help. A licensed therapist can work with them to accept, evaluate and treat their addiction.

4. Lack of Personal Hygiene

As well as emotional red flags, there will be a number of physical ones, too. The first is a displayed lack of personal hygiene.

When opioid addiction takes hold, the sufferer usually begins to stop taking care of their appearance. As the drugs become more and more of a focus in their lives, hygiene takes a back seat, and it starts to show.

If your teen isn’t taking care of themselves like they used to, be on the lookout for the other warning signs on this list, too.

5. Health Problems

A teen who’s hooked on opioids may experience nausea and vomiting. This is because opioids affect the digestive system.

They cause the appetite to be suppressed, and this, combined with vomiting and an inhibited metabolism, can result in dramatic weight loss. Of course, addicts may also feel compelled to spend money on drugs instead of food, and therefore eat much less.

You may be able to spot abrasions or track marks on their skin, which will signal use of intravenous drugs. This may lead to other skin problems, such as rashes or infections.

Other health problems may also arise, as your teen’s immune system can be suppressed by drug abuse.

You may also notice that they are less responsive to pain. They may feel numbness from time to time, or unable to feel pain altogether. This is because the opioids attach to receptors in the brain, effectively blocking the feeling of pain.

This is how opioids are intended to help people. They provide relief from severe and chronic pain. However, it causes the harmful high that allows addiction to develop rapidly.

Seek Professional Help

Opioid addiction can be devastating for a teenager and their family, but it doesn’t have to ruin their lives. With professional help, your teen can put overcome their problems and put substance abuse firmly in the past.

At LifeLine for Youth, we offer dedicated programs to provide treatment for troubled teenagers. This also involves education, so they can get back on track with their studies and transition back into school life.

Don’t just take our word for it. To find out how LifeLine has helped to free other young people from the confines of addiction and take control of their lives, see our client testimonials

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