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February 1984

Psychoactive Drug Use During Adolescence: The Pediatrician's Role

Author Affiliations

410 Maple Ave Vienna, VA 22180

Am J Dis Child. 1984;138(2):205. doi:10.1001/archpedi.1984.02140400083021

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Sir.—Frequent illicit drug use by adolescents has caused enormous misery to the user, his family, friends, school, and society. Boredom, restlessness, chronic ill-defined tension, and impulsiveness characterize many long-term drug-using adolescents between "highs." The impulsive, pleasure-seeking, drug-using adolescent is often unable to delay immediate gratification for future reward, and his tolerance to frustration is very low. Academic underachievement and his tolerance to frustration is very low. Academic underachievement and intense loneliness, despite outward signs of feeling at ease, may be manifestations of a poor sense of self-worth, of apathy, and of lack of motivation that the adolescent has sought to alleviate by escaping to a drug-induced euphoric state. These feelings may also be manifested in anger toward loved ones, school, and society that intensifies as addiction progresses.

Such adolescents may be brought into the pediatrician's office because they are apathetic, lethargic, volatile, chronically moody, failing in school, disrespectful, untrustworthy,