Apathy, Substance Abuse and Your Adolescent

Drug and alcohol dependecy can cause an adolensent to not care enough

Being a teen has always been a journey wrought with anguish and turmoil. Adolescents are in a bizarre limbo in which they are not quite children any longer but they are also not yet adults. This often leads to a great deal of pressure being put on a teen at a period of time when he or she desires more freedom than ever before.Substance abuse is one way that adolescents might decide to retreat in order to gain the freedom they crave so desperately.

The Adolescent That Doesn’t Care

According to Dr. Pickhardt of Psychology Today, when adolescents use drugs and/or alcohol, they are seeking an altered state of mind that allows them to have freedom from caring and worry. In addition, teens might be trying to grasp the tantalizing possibilities that the uninhibited pleasure that results from taking illegal substances has the potential to bring them.

Drugs and alcohol, if consumed in large enough quantities and for a long enough period of time, can easily bring an adolescent through different stages of caring ranging from sober caring to not caring about the consequences or the risks of being fully intoxicated or under the influence of drugs1.

Apathy: The Unusual Sign of Drug Abuse

The unusual signs of substance abuseIf you are like many parents, you know some of the most common signs of drug and/or alcohol abuse that are likely to be exhibited by your adolescent. These signs include distinct changes in how they act as well as the people that they call their friends.

Other signs that might clue you in to the fact that your teen is abusing drugs and alcohol is smelling the odor of alcohol or marijuana smoke and signs including redness or glassy eyes. The above changes often come about as this abuse continues and your adolescent becomes sloppy with hiding their activities.

Science Backs up Apathy as a Sign of Abuse

A significant clue that could signal substance abuse is when your adolescent become apathetic. According to a study that appeared in Innovations in Clinical Neuroscience, teens that show signs who roots are grounded in apathy should be considered as potential drug and/or alcohol users.

After all, note the study’s authors, apathy is the basis for a number of common signs that adolescents often display during these tumultuous years including a lack of motivation, a reduction in productivity and low morale.

Other Common Issues

common issues in teens can lead to substance abuse and addictionThese are not the only signs that your teens might be involved in illegal substance activity. Apathy, according to the study — entitled Early Detection of Illicit Drug Use in Teenagers — goes hand in hand with other common issues that often crop up during the teen years.

These include changes in mood as well as the lack of mood stability. In fact, many parents liken raising their teens to almost like having toddlers once again. Depression, another common trait that often crops up during the teen years, is also an early indicator that your adolescent might be dabbling in drugs of some sort, alcohol or both2.

  1. Carl E. Pickhardt. Psychology Today. Surviving Your Child’s Adolescence. May 28, 2012. https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/surviving-your-childs-adolescence/201205/adolescent-apathy-and-what-loss-caring-can-mean
  2. Shahid Ali, MD, Charles P. Mouton, MD, Shagufta Jabeen, MD, Ejike Kingsley Ofoemezie, MD, Rhan K. Bailey, MD, Madiha Shahid, MS, and Qiang Zeng. MD. Innovations in Clinical Neuroscience. Dec. 8, 2012. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3257983/

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