According to DSM, drug dependence is a negative pattern of substance usage that creates many problems that include craving more of a drug to get intoxicated, problems that arises during withdrawal state, using more of a substance or for extended period of time, and other life issues because of drug usage. There are five stages of drug use:

Maryam-Riaz 3Ms. Maryam Riaz has completed her Masters in Clinical Psychology from Quaid-i-Azam University, Islamabad. She has also done Post Graduate Diploma in Clinical Psychology from Fauji Foundation University. Her research work includes leadership styles and Pygmalion effect in bank managers and their subordinates and another research was on organizational commitmnet and job Stress. She had the experience of working as Psychologiostin Jehlum Polyclinic, CDA hospital Islamabad, Fauji Foundation Hospital Rwp, Benazir Bhutto Hospital as a psychologist. She also serves as a trainee at Army Special Education Academy.

Editor: Samreen Masud

  • Drug access is the initial stage but no use thereof. In that stage, minimizing the risk factors that increases teenager’s vulnerability to use drugs is an issue.
  • Drug use ranges from experimentation use to weekly use of substances which is the second stage of
  • The third stage includes a teen progressing to further increasing the frequency of intake of different drugs on a regular basis. It may also include the teenager either, stealing, drug trafficking or buying drugs from drug smugglers.
  • In the fourth stage, adolescents start using drugs on regular basis, remain preoccupied with getting high, and as an outcome of using the substance have developed problems in their social, educational, vocational, or even in family life.
  • Youth explain the final and most serious fifth stage of drug use as feeling “normal” only when they use drug. During this stage, risk-taking behaviors like stealing engaging in fights, sex that is not protected, drug dealing, or driving while intoxicated increase and vulnerability to commit suicidal or homicidal thoughts increases.


Below are some alarming signs to look for teen abusing drug.

  • Attendance and grades:  start from your teen’s school performance that has his grades or study routine plunged? At times, straight A student can be on edge of flunking out because of drug usage. Often, a sign of drug abuse is a hunch that is usually not very dramatic. A teenager might become less hard-working, delayed submission of assignments, not studying for tests, stop showing interest in class, or bunk classes.
  • Money: You should check that if teen is borrowing money from his/her acquaintances. Or he has been demanding extra money than usual from you. Another thing that should be consider is if any money from your bag been lost? This is actually alarming.