Now more than ever, teenagers have access to a wide range of harmful and addictive substances. From alcohol and illicit drugs to misuse of prescription medication, there are seemingly endless paths that generate teen addicts.
If you suspect your teen might have a substance problem, you may be looking for signs to confirm your suspicions. Look for these key signs your teen is using drugs so you can help keep them safe during their teen years.
1. Changes In Appetite and Sleeping Patterns
One of the most obvious signs of drug use is a drastic change in appetite and sleeping pattern. If your teen is not eating as much as they have in the past, or if they’re suddenly eating you out of house and home, substance abuse might be the cause.
Teens need between 8 and 10 hours of sleep every night. If you notice your teen sleeping for excessive lengths of time, or barely sleeping at all, take note. There may be a simple explanation, such as late-night exam studying or a busy sports’ training season.
Look for unexplained changes as they can be early warning signs of a substance problem.
2. Extreme Mood Swings and Behavior Alterations
Teenagers are stereotypically dramatic, but extreme mood swings and changes in behavior may point to something sinister.
Rapid mood changes without explanation or logical cause can be a sign of a hormonal shift or chemical imbalance.
Illicit drugs majorly impact your chemical and hormone levels – resulting in uncontrollable mood swings and uncharacteristic behavior.
3. Changes in Appearance
Drugs affect your appearance as much as they affect your body chemistry and hormone levels.
Signs of drug use include:
- bloodshot or glazed eyes
- red, runny, or bloody nose
- persistent cough
- extreme weight loss
- pupil size that doesn’t match lighting level
- tremors, shakes, or seizures in individual with no history of epilepsy
- increase in injuries or bruises
The warning signs will be different depending on the drugs being abused. Some substances have more obvious signs than others.
Your teen may also start slacking with their personal hygiene or physical grooming. If you notice odd smells in combination with several of the above signs, it might be time to sit your teen down for a difficult talk.
4. Loss of Interest in Hobbies and Relationships
At teen rehab centers, therapists use psychoeducation to educate teenage drug-users about the effects of addiction and the impact substance abuse has on the rest of their lives. As they become fixated on drugs, teen addicts lose interest in hobbies and friendships. They will isolate and remove themselves from sports teams, friendship groups, and family gatherings.
Even if this isolation isn’t drug-related, it still shows signs of a problem. Your teen may be experiencing depression or other mental health issues.
A teen abusing drugs will try their best to hide it from you. Your teen may act secretive, start locking their doors and drawers, and avoid talking or interacting with you.
If you feel your teen drastically withdrawing, it’s time to intervene and ask them what’s wrong. It’s never too late to enroll in a treatment program and move towards a healthy, happy lifestyle.
Facing Addiction in the Teen Years
Teenage addiction is dangerous, but treatment is available for anyone struggling with substance abuse. Help your kid overcome drug addiction in their teen years so they can live a fulfilling life free from harmful substances.
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