It is common knowledge that drug use has disastrous effects on the body and mind. Cocaine use, for example, has several long-term effects including paranoid psychosis, auditory and empirical hallucinations, anxiety, severe depression, irritability and suicide ideation. Increased sensitivity can often result in death, and cocaine withdrawal symptoms can often be life threatening.
Most disconcerting of all are the effects of drug use on youth, particularly before the age of 15. Studies have shown that long-term marijuana use promotes attention, memory and learning disabilities amongst teens. Most teenagers are unaware or perhaps dismissive in regards to the effects drugs have on them mentally and physically.
New studies have confirmed that the parts of the brain that control judgment, organization, impulse-control, emotion, decision-making and planning are in the greatest development stage during adolescence. This area of the brain is called the prefrontal cortex and does not fully mature until the age of 25.
That is why it is imperative that you speak with your teenager about the risks involved with drug and alcohol use in general, but particularly in regards to their age and how it is an extremely important developmental stage in their lives.
Most teens have a heightened sense of invincibility at such a young age, and I myself was no exception. Teenagers today need to understand that in reality it is quite the opposite, and that they must take extra care of themselves while their brains and bodies are still developing. It must be made clear that preventing the disastrous effects drug and alcohol use can have on the brain at this age outweigh the importance of appearing “cool” amongst their peers and giving into social pressures. It must be explained to them that being well-informed and smart about their choices is a matter of self-preservation and protection, and should be regarded as the coolest, smartest mindset imaginable.
Encourage your child to inspire others to make the same smart choices they do.
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