Chemical Dependency in Children and Teens


Though it is possible for some adults to use legal drugs without becoming chemically dependent, alcohol, tobacco and other illegal drug use by children and teens is extremely dangerous. During childhood and adolescence physical growth and maturation is rapid. The use of chemicals during this period acts as a toxin that harms the body and prevents it from optimally developing. Children’s bodies are more likely to adapt to the physical signs of drug toxicity. This causes them to stop exhibiting the warning signs of toxicity (i.e. vomiting, stomach ache) that would stop the drug use. So while the negative physical signs of toxicity are not exhibited, physical damage may continue and chemical dependency may occur.

Emotional and social growth is also rapid during childhood and adolescence. During this time individuals learn to respond to and manage stressors. If drugs are used to bring about euphoria instead of learning to deal with stress, the individual does not develop the normal decision making and problem solving skills that are needed throughout life.

Club Drugs

Certain drugs have emerged and become popular among teens and young adults at dance clubs and “raves”. These drugs termed “club drugs” include MDMA/Ecstasy (methylenedioxymethamphetamine), Rohypnol (flunitrazepam), GHB(gamma hydroxybutyrate and ketamine (ketamine hydrochloride). Ecstasy is often used at parties because it enables party-goers to dance and remain active for long periods of time, producing both stimulant and psychedelic effects. Rohypnol and GHB are often used in the commission of sexual assaults due to their ability to sedate and intoxicate unsuspecting victims.

Club Drug Effects

  • Confusion
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Paranoia
  • Nausea
  • Faintness
  • Increased heart rate
  • Elevated blood pressure
  • Drowsiness
  • Unconsciousness
  • Seizures
  • Hyperthermia
  • Muscle breakdown
  • Stroke
  • Cardiovascular system breakdown
Signs and Symptoms

  • Drop in school attendance or academic performance
  • Lack of interest in personal appearance
  • Physical changes (i.e. persistent runny nose, red eyes, coughing, wheezing, bruising, needle marks)
  • Uncharacteristic withdrawal from family, friends or interests
  • Isolation, depression, fatigue
  • Hostility and lack of cooperativeness
  • Increase in borrowing money
  • Unaccounted for cash especially in small denominations
  • Change in friends
  • Loss of interest in hobbies and/or sports that used to be important
  • Change in eating or sleeping habits
  • Evidence of drugs or drug paraphernalia (i.e. rolling papers, eye drops, pipes)
  • Heightened secrecy about actions or possessions

How Can Apex Behavioral Health Western Wayne, P.L.L.C. Help? 

Chemical Dependency services are provided based on individual need. Services are provided by Board Certified psychiatrists, licensed psychologists, certified social workers and other health care professionals. Services are provided for children as well as adults.

The following services are offered:

  1. Individual Therapy
  2. Family Therapy
  3. Group Therapy
  4. Physical Assessment
  5. Continuing Care Groups/Relapse Prevention/Recovery Skills

All services are focused to work with patients and their families directing them toward new skills and techniques to create and maintain a drug free lifestyle. All treatment services focus on the patients abstention, overcoming self defeating behaviors, understanding and developing new coping strategies, participating in self help groups and coping with the stresses of daily living.

Help is a phone call away (734) 729-3133