Drug Abuse Warning Signs in Teenagers and What Steps to Take

The thought of finding your teen using alcohol or drugs is very frightening. Substance abuse in teens is a real issue because it can trigger health and life complications. Parents need to get familiar with the warning signs that your teen is using substance abuse.

The addiction treatment center in Blaine has outpatient and resident programs. Parents can walk-in with their teens for a drug screen test if they are suspicious about substance abuse.

Drug abuse warning signs in teenagers

Normal habit changes

The changes in your child’s regular habits can be identified in several ways. The key signs of substance abuse are –

  • Sudden loss of appetite
  • New cravings & increase in appetite
  • Spending time with new friends without their old ones
  • Complains from school associated with misbehavior and poor grades

Physical changes

It will differ in the kind of substance used and is hard to identify. You can look out for –

  • Flushed cheeks
  • Bloodshot eyes
  • Soot on lips or fingers
  • Long sleeves in summer
  • The unusual smell in their breath or clothes
  • Tremors or shaking of fingers
  • Licking lips constantly
  • Runny nose without any cold or nosebleeds
  • Careless personal hygiene

Cautious behavior

Some teens are normally introverted and withdrawn but when he/she withdraws, even more, take a close look. An extrovert teen may start getting quiet, which means a red flag. Some behaviors to check closely are –

  • Locking doors
  • Disappear act for a long time
  • Stealing
  • Avoiding eye contact
  • Missing class, work or extra-curricular activities

Changes in their room

Some things are an obvious sign that reveals something is not right. Keep an eye on unusual changes in the teen’s room like –

  • Drug paraphernalia like butane lighter, a smoking device, syringe, and eye drops
  • Wrappers or containers you don’t recognize
  • Hidden stash of alcohol or OTC drugs
  • Unexplained car dents

Is the teenager growing up or using drugs?

Parents always find their teen child still young, when they are possibly encountering adult situations. In the real world, this is natural as they learn ways to handle situations in a healthy way.

However, some of the behaviors mentioned above can be part of a growing but as a parent, you will identify strange things behind these scenes. The signs above are just for guidance and not a diagnosis.

If you suspect substance abuse, then …..

  • Ask the teen direct questions before making an accusation.
  • Allow them to explain their side of the story.
  • You may be concerned that the conversation may worsen but be calm and handle the situation.
  • Be prepared for what to say, if they confess…..never allow your emotions to dictate your reaction.
  • If your child denies, but you have a strong suspicion then have them screened.
  • If the child is addicted, the first step is to get assistance from the rehabilitation center near you.
  • Even take away their driving rights, to avoid car accident risk.
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