Addiction

SIGNS OF SUBSTANCE ABUSE

www.teentreatmentcenter.com

“How do I know if my teenager is abusing drugs or alcohol?” This is a question that we are frequently asked at the Teen Treatment Center. Often, it can be difficult to differentiate between substance abuse and the typical teenage mood swings. However, if the teen begins to exhibit several of the signs below, they may be struggling with a substance use disorder.

When an adolescent is abusing drugs or alcohol, their parents and loved ones may notice a change in the adolescent’s behavior, grooming habits, work or school performance and health. Some common signs and symptoms of drug and alcohol use include:

BEHAVIORAL CHANGES

  • A sudden change in personality
  • Inability to concentrate
  • New friends
  • Increased conflict and resistance in the family
  • Barring family members from their bedroom
  • Being secretive about who they are talking to on the phone or texting
  • Withdrawn or extreme sadness
  • Anger or irritability
  • Hidden stockpile of alcohol

CHANGES IN APPEARANCE

  • A lack of interest in their appearance
  • Poor hygiene (e.g. bad breath)
  • Unusual markings on their arms or legs
  • Their clothes or breath reek of smoke
  • Smell of alcohol on their breath
  • Bloodshot eyes
  • Dark circles under their eyes

SCHOOL OR WORK PERFORMANCE

  • Skipping school
  • Loss of interest in sports, hobbies or extracurricular activities
  • Drop in grades
  • Complaints from teachers, bosses or co-workers

HEALTH ISSUES

  • Frequent nose bleeds
  • Sudden weight loss or gain
  • Excessive sweating
  • Dilated pupils
  • Unexplained bruises or sores
  • Extreme exhaustion

Missing prescription medications, inexplicable need for cash and the disappearance of household items are also signs of substance abuse.

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