You start losing sleep. You try to make excuses. You avoid the feeling in your gut. There is no escaping it. Something does not seem right with your son or daughter. Is it possible? Know the warning signs that your teen is using drugs. Use that information to get them the help they need.
Is Your Teenager Exhibiting Signs of Substance Abuse?
Teenagers go through a myriad of changes as they travel through puberty into adulthood. Some become moody and isolate themselves. Others seem to wear the same clothes, day after day. Defiance can be an issue among the younger generation. Are these necessarily indicative of teen drug abuse? Of course not. However, you may have concerns based on your observation of a combination of physical and behavioral symptoms.
We reviewed some warning signs cited in a well-respected medical journal and came up with a checklist to let you determine if your teenager is exhibiting signs of substance abuse. Take our test and see:
- Is your teen exhibiting extreme mood changes?
- Has your teenager become increasingly manipulative or secretive?
- Do you know all your child’s friends and approve of them?
- Does your teenager frequently change friends?
- Has your teen suddenly dropped out of sports activities or other school functions?
- Is there a resistance to participate in any family bonding activities?
- Have truancy or poor grades become an issue?
- Does your teen appear depressed or withdrawn?
- Have apathy, lack of self-control and aggressive behavior become issues?
- Does your child regularly lie or disappear without explanation?
- Does your teen exude an odor of alcohol or drugs?
- Does your teen wear long sleeves even when it’s hot outside? (Hiding possible track marks left by intravenous drug use)
- Would others see your teenager as disheveled or lacking in personal hygiene?
- Are your teen’s pupil’s dilated? Are his or her eyes red?
- Does your teenager clench his or her teeth or imaginary chew?
- Has your teen inexplicably lost or gained weight?
- Have you noticed that your teenager’s speech is slurred or gait compromised?
- Has there been a sudden onset of seizures?
- Has your vomited, unrelated to health issues?
- Is your teen either extremely fatigued or extraordinarily motivated?
Warning Signs throughout the House
- Are you missing money or personal property, such as jewelry?
- Has your liquor cabinet been raided?
- Have you found remnants of drugs, such as marijuana “roaches”?
- Have you discovered drug paraphernalia, such as pipes or hypodermic needles?
- Have you come across something that you suspect may be an illicit substance?
- Are you missing prescription drugs from your medicine closet?
- Does your teen insist on locking his or her room?
- Have you noticed that your teen suddenly uses eye wash or mints on a frequent basis?
- Does your teen insist on using incense or room deodorizer?
- Do a combination of all of the above give you an uneasy feeling?
Handling Suspicions of Teenage Addiction
It is easy to go through the list of signs and symptoms of substance abuse and still be denial. Teens are often chameleons as they struggle to become adults. It could just be that your teenager is not guilty of anything other than growing up and has mood changes. Listen to your gut. If you have suspicions that your teen is involved with substance abuse, you need to address the situation.
After you have reviewed your answers to these questions, you will obviously be concerned about your next steps. At A Sober Place, we can help direct you for help. Contact us for a confidential referral.