Cocaine is one of the most dangerous drugs out there. Teens think it’s cool because it’s a stimulant drug, meaning it gives you tons of energy so you can stay up all night long and party and hang with friends. But it can also kill you.
Stimulants are drugs that elevate your mood, give you more energy, and increase your feelings of well-being. Basically, they cause your body to speed up… which means they also elevate your heart rate and blood pressure, which is incredibly dangerous.
Cocaine is available in two different forms. It can be in powder form, which people can either snort or inject with a needle (if they mix it with water); or it’s sometimes in the form of small white rocks, otherwise known as “crack cocaine,” and can be smoked. Some street names for cocaine are coke, coca, snow, blow, flake, candy, or rock; it’s also called “speedball” when it’s mixed with other drugs.
Here are some of the short-term effects of cocaine:
- faster heartbeat
- body feels hot
- shaking and twitching
- can’t sleep or eat
- feelings of anger, nervousness, paranoia, and fear
- stomach pain
- weight loss
- after the high wears off, you will crash and feel tired and sad for days (and crave it)
And here are some of the long-term effects:
- built up tolerance (so you crave more and need more to feel the same high)
- strange unpredictable behavior, like panic attacks and feeling paranoid
- snorting can lead to hoarseness, loss of sense of smell, nosebleeds, and a constant runny nose
- respiratory problems
- heart attack
- brain damage
- violent behavior
- sudden death (even for first time users)
If you suspect that one of your friends may be using cocaine, you definitely need to get them help. It could save their life. You can usually tell that something sketchy is going on when friends start acting really weird, and not like themselves: if they’re starting to not do as well in school, hanging out with a different crowd, if they seem depressed and have lost weight, lost their motivation, and aren’t taking care of their appearance and hygiene. People using drugs are also very moody, might have changed their sleeping pattern, and have bloodshot, tired looking eyes. They also might always be asking for money, or even stealing money.
Try talking to your friend and ask if something’s going on. In some cases, they may actually open up and be honest with you about what they’ve been doing. But sometimes, probably in most cases, teens can be afraid or embarrassed to admit that they’re using drugs, and will lie to even their closest friends. They might get angry with you. If that happens, you need to tell an adult. You aren’t telling on them, or getting them in trouble… you’re literally saving their life by telling someone. It’s nothing to feel bad about. Tell a trusted adult, like a parent, school counselor, teacher, or coach. They can help you confront your friend and get them the help they need.
You could also have your friend call either 1-800-273-TALK or 1-800-662-HELP. By calling these hotlines, your friend can talk to a professional about the steps they should take to get over their cocaine addiction. Or, you can go online with them and visit http://www.samhsa.gov/treatment and find a local treatment center where they can receive help.
Cocaine is highly addictive, so even if your friend has only tried it a few times, they’re still craving it. Or if they’ve been using for a long time, it’s going to continue to get worse. It’s only a matter of time until something happens to them. Get them the help they need NOW.
Everyone has rough days, and everyone has mood swings every once in a while. It happens, it’s a part of life. But there are some people who have a hard time getting out of bed in the morning, because every single day sucks. There are some people who have such an overwhelming sense of sadness and anger that they can’t even get through everyday life.
Depression is a big deal. Being depressed doesn’t just mean you’re in a bad mood, or you’re upset about something that just happened. It is a serious problem that affects every aspect of your life: your social life, education, career, health. Everything.
Here are some signs and symptoms of depression:
- feelings of sadness/hopelessness/worthlessness
- irritability, anger, hostility
- tearfulness/frequent crying
- withdrawal from family/friends
- loss of interest in activities and hobbies
- changes in eating and sleeping habits
- restlessness and agitation
- lack of enthusiasm and motivation
- fatigue or lack of energy
- difficulty concentrating
- thoughts of death or suicide
High school is already tough enough for everybody as it is, but depression will make it ten times worse. Depression can lead to all kinds of problems, like:
- problems at school (grades, attendance)
- running away
- drug/alcohol abuse
- low self-esteem
- internet/video game addiction
- reckless behavior
When you have a child or friend who’s depressed, it’s hard to figure out how to approach it. You want to make sure do everything you can to get them help, but you don’t want to upset them or push them away. The first thing you should do is let them know that you’re there for them. Let them know that you will continue to support and stand by them no matter what happens, because you want to help. You’ll probably want to lecture them about everything that could go wrong and what needs to happen to prevent that, but don’t go there. Instead, just listen. Be patient, and let them tell you what’s wrong. Lecturing will only push them away.
Encourage them to start being social again. Suggest that they call up their friends and hang out for an evening, or take them out somewhere like to dinner or a movie. Also, encourage physical activity. Anything that gets them going and out of their room will make them feel a whole lot better.
Once you’ve gotten to a place where they recognize that something’s going on with them and you’ve talked about it, encourage them to get professional help. Go with them to a counselor or doctor who can suggest what steps need to be taken to get them back to their normal selves.
If YOU are the one who’s depressed, here’s what you can do:
- Try not to isolate yourself from friends and family. Keeping good, healthy relationships will keep you strong and make you feel more hopeful when times get tough. Talk to your friends and family about what’s going on and the emotions you’re having. They love you and want to help you.
- Keep your body healthy. When you’re feeling depressed, it’s easy to lock yourself in front of the TV or computer with a bunch of junk food. In fact, that’s probably all you feel like doing. Fight that urge to be lazy and get moving! Go for a walk or run when you’re feeling down. Just a quick 10-15 minute jog will help you feel so much better. And make sure to eat your fruits and veggies… seriously, junk food will only make you feel worse.
- Avoid drugs and alcohol. Nothing good ever comes from these, especially when you’re upset. While you might think drugs and alcohol will make your pain go away, they will only make everything worse. They could cause you to get violent and do something you’ll regret. You might rely on them so much that you end up getting addicted. You might even overdose. Just don’t go there.
- If you’re starting to feel stressed, sad, or angry for an unusually long period of time, get help. Talk to a friend, parent, teacher or counselor about it, and they can help you. Nobody should have to go through anything like that alone.
Studies show that only 1/5 depressed teens get help. Look for the symptoms, and be the one to help a teen in need.
One of the most painful of all issues with which one deals in life, whether directly or indirectly, is teen depression. If you are experiencing or have experienced this you know how tough it can be to shake. If you have had a family member or loved one that has dealt with this issue the pain is very real to you also. This last week Michael Blosil, the son of Marie Osmond, took his own life after struggling with depression for years; he was 18 years old. This was a shock to all and has devastated his family.
According to teendepression.org, “About 20 percent of teens will experience teen depression before they reach adulthood.” Other startling statistics are that “30 percent of teens with depression also develop a substance abuse problem,” and that “untreated depression is the number one cause of suicide, the third leading cause of death among teenagers.”
If you are suffering from depression, understand that you do not have to deal with it alone. Get help. Tell somebody. Tell a parent, a counselor, a teacher, or somebody that can help. If you are concerned about someone who may be dealing with depression, look for these warning signs.