Addiction to a substance can begin at any age, but more often than not it starts when a person is a teen or young adult. Marijuana is a common drug for teenagers to begin taking, and if you think that your teen or young adult is smoking marijuana, it can easily become addictive. Dealing with a teenager or young adult who has an addiction to any drug is not an easy task, and you may find yourself frustrated, angry or upset due to the situation. However, there are ways in which to deal with it that will have better results for both you and your teen. If you think that your child is addicted to marijuana, read on for further advice regarding what to do.

Know the Signs

If your teenager is becoming more and more withdrawn, borrowing money often but with nothing to show for it, and is becoming more obscure about where they are going, these are just some signs of drug abuse. With marijuana specifically, you should also look out for an increased appetite, redness of the eyes – although there are eye drops to combat this, so keep that in mind – and your teen acting ‘spaced out’ or sleepy and spending a lot of time in bed. Although some of these signs could also be put down to puberty or other issues unrelated to drugs, they are commonly reported by parents of teens who are smoking marijuana.

Don’t Blame Yourself

For many parents, it is common for them to blame themselves upon discovering that their teenager is dealing with a marijuana addiction. However, blaming yourself will only add to the problem, and it’s important that you understand that beating yourself up about how you could have done more to prevent it, will not change anything. Instead, you should try to have a positive outlook about the future and your teen’s path to recovery and attempt to best support them during rehabilitation or treatment should they need to take that route.

Understand That It’s Hard to Quit

Repeated drug use has an effect on the brain. If your teen has only just started smoking marijuana and the addiction is caught quickly it may be easier for them to give up, however if you discover that your teenager has been using marijuana for a longer period of time, don’t expect them to be able to go cold turkey straight away. With marijuana, it is often the nicotine in the tobacco rolled into the joints that many users also become addicted to, making marijuana withdrawal especially difficult as the user is suffering from nicotine withdrawal as well. You may find that nicotine replacement therapies make this process easier for your teenager, so suggest that they use nicotine patches, nicotine chewing gum or even an e-cigarette to help curb some of the cravings.

Professional Help

If your teen is finding it increasingly hard to quit and doesn’t seem to be taking any of your advice, the best thing that you can do is get professional help. Taking your teenager to see a doctor or other health professional who will not only be able to carry out a drug screening but also educate your teen on the health dangers of drug abuse and put plans for recovery in place is often helpful. There are also addiction specialists who you can contact directly if you are worried about your teenager, and they will be able to both provide you with advice on how to best handle your teen’s addiction and also meet with your teen to put strategies for recovery in place. In the worst case scenario, you may need to think about a residential drug rehab program.

Recovery is Lifelong

Never assume that just because your teen hasn’t smoked a joint for a week, month, or even a year that they will never do it again. Recovering from substance addiction is a lifelong process, and although some users never go back to using a substance again more often than not many will relapse, even for short amounts of time. It is important that you fully support your teen and ensure that if they do relapse you offer them the same support and help that you did the first time around. Encourage your teen to take up new hobbies and interests and to lead a healthy lifestyle in order to aid with the recovery process and get into a good routine.

If you’d like to offer any further advice to parents, we’d love to hear from you in the comments.


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