You may also notice physical changes like weight loss, red eyes, hand tremors, or nosebleeds. He or she may sleep more than usual. They may start to have a sloppy appearance or poor hygiene, or they may be extremely tired or extremely hyperactive, and anxious or fidgety. If you know the person well, you will likely sense that something is amiss. Just remember that casual drug use at parties can quickly turn into an addiction. Furthermore, addiction is a progressive disease, and while early warning signs can be challenging to spot, unhealthy patterns become more obvious over time and develop into a full blown substance abuse disorder. Paying attention to early warning signs can prevent a larger problem later. Just remember that the earlier you intervene, the better. As a teen yourself, you are in your friend’s social circle, and therefore you may see the drug problem before adults (e.g., parents or teachers) see it. If you suspect a drug problem, talk to your friend or an adult in your friend’s life. Why People Abuse Drugs People often abuse drugs as a way to escape the stresses of everyday life. Teens are often under peer pressure to try drugs, as was the case in John’s story earlier. The euphoria that drugs provide is a temporary stress reducer, but unfortunately this practice can quickly lead to drug dependency. Stress also is a major determining factor regarding whether someone relapses into drug addiction. A person can be doing well but then experience a relationship problem or lose their job and relapse due to the stress caused by these events. Addicts have nervous systems that are much more sensitive to stress hormones sent to the brain to produce the fight-or-flight reaction. When a person is stressed, the body sends hormones as chemical messengers to the brain to reserve fuel; this is the “fight or flight” scenario. Usually, these hormones are released in small amounts, but if a person is


Detoxing from Drugs

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