According to a 2015 study performed by the Center for Behavioral Health Statistics and Quality, over 169,000 children aged 12 to 17 reported using prescription stimulant medication without a prescription.  The same study reported that nearly 1.6 million people over the age of 12 had abused stimulants in general, including methamphetamine.  As more and more children are prescribed stimulant medications for legitimate medical reasons, the potential for abuse grows as the stimulants become more readily available.   The mounting pressures teens face today are causing them to look for an advantage and these stimulant medications, often referred to as “smart-drugs”, seem to fit the bill.  With continued use tolerances are built up and teens may find themselves advancing to more illicit stimulants including cocaine and methamphetamine.  If your child is showing any of these signs of a stimulant addiction, it is a good idea to speak with a medical professional immediately:

Weight Loss:

Stimulants work by increasing dopamine and other neurotransmitters in the brain.  Dopamine is known as the “feel-good” neurotransmitter and sends a signal throughout the body to signal satisfaction.  The increased amount of dopamine decreases appetite as the brain feels satisfied therefore not requiring nourishment.  The decreased appetite along with an increased metabolism can cause weight loss leading to possible malnourishment.  

Changes in Sleep Patterns:

A major side-effect of stimulant use is insomnia.  Often times when abusing stimulants teens may go days without sleep.  Once the effects of the stimulant wear off, your child may sleep excessively in an attempt to make up for lost sleep.  If you notice your child going several nights with little sleep or periodically sleeping for an uncharacteristically long time it is a good idea to talk to them.  When abusing stimulants it is not uncommon to go 2 or 3 days without sleep and then sleep for 24 hours straight.

Changes in hygiene:

Stimulant abuse can cause drastic changes in the hygiene habits of users.  Users may experience a hyper-focus that causes them to forget to bathe or they may become compulsive in a need to feel clean and begin bathing far more than usual.  Because stimulants increase the body’s temperature, users may also experience excessive perspiration.  

While these may just be a few of the signs of stimulant abuse, you know your child better than anyone.  Pay attention for changes in behavior and talk to your children.  Addictions do not happen overnight and the changes could be subtle.  If you feel your child could be struggling with an addiction, talk to a trained professional who can help give your child the assistance they need.

The Springboard Center is a knows that treatment for addiction and alcoholism is important to you. That is why we are committed to providing you the best proven practices for treatment so you can live a full life of recovery. Call us today for information on our residential treatment program and sober living: (432) 620-0255