What to do if you suspect teen drug use

Chris Fulton, PhD Adolescent Psychologist, shares advice for parents on the best steps to take if you believe that your teenage child is using drugs
What to Do if You Suspect Your Teenager is Using Drugs
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What to do if you suspect teen drug use

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If you see signs of your child or your teenager taking drugs, like, bad grades or withdrawing from one set of friends and going to another; you need to start asking. You need to start talking to your teenager about, "What's going on?" Then you sort of slide in there, "I am noticing some strange behaviors. It seems like you are sleeping in a lot, are you doing anything or taking anything that's causing you to sleep more or hang out with those friends?" And ask explicitly at some point, "Hey, are you doing drugs?" Now, if you are not getting those straight answers or you feel like you are not getting those straight answers, you actually should be testing your child. There are tests, either laboratories or a pediatrician. You can even get them at your local pharmacy. You can have them pee in a cup, so to speak, and test them. I think that's a really helpful thing to do. That will actually deter them from actually doing things if you say, "Hey, I'm going to randomly test you," whether it is after a party or during the week.

Chris Fulton, PhD Adolescent Psychologist, shares advice for parents on the best steps to take if you believe that your teenage child is using drugs

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Chris Fulton, PhD

Clinical Psychologist

Dr. Christopher Fulton is a licensed clinical psychologist and has been in private practice for over ten years. He received his doctorate in 1994 from the California School of Professional Psychology, Los Angeles. Dr. Fulton has clinical training and experience in a variety of settings, and also has administrative, teaching, supervision, consulting, research and psychological testing experience. Dr. Fulton provides consultation and ongoing therapy for children, adolescents and adults. He conducts group, individual, couples and family therapy and actively works with a variety of childhood disorders, including: adjustment disorder, ADHD, anxiety, depression, oppositional defiant and other emotional-behavioral disorders. Among his most frequent areas of concentration is divorce, for which Dr. Fulton offers therapy for all involved.

Utilizing research-supported methods in treatment, Dr. Fulton's approach to therapy involves a combination of cognitive-behavioral, family systems and interpersonal interventions. In his work with children, Dr. Fulton involves parents and assists them in developing appropriate responses to their children, since he believes that ultimately the parent will make the most significant impact on the child. Dr. Fulton helps parents establish appropriate boundaries, communication and methods of discipline in order to increase positive relationships with their children.

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