Warning Signs of Adolescent Drug or Alcohol Abuse

No one knows your child better than you, so you’re likely to notice changes in behavior and attitude. Your child’s teachers may notice too. Adolescent-behavior experts advise that the following symptoms may be associated with drug (and alcohol) abuse:

What signs should I look for?

  1. Sudden personality swings that can affect school attendance, productivity, grades and relationships.
  2. Angry outbursts, often it can be something seemingly small.
  3. A lack of interest in assuming responsibilities.
  4. A change in attitude, and a loss of interest in activities and hobbies that used to be enjoyable.
  5. A change of friends and an unwillingness to have them visit.
  6. Refusal to talk about friends or activities they may share.
  7. An inability to pay attention and a lack of concentration.
  8. Pronounced nervousness that can lead to aggression.
  9. Being secretive.
  10. A lack of interest in his/her appearance and hygiene.
  11. Wearing sunglasses when there’s no need to.
  12. Wearing long-sleeved shirts – even when it’s hot.
  13. Hanging out with known substance abusers.
  14. Compulsive money borrowing from friends and family.
  15. Stealing items from school or other’s homes.
  16. A noticeable disconnection from family, and a desire to retreat to seldom-used parts of the home such as attics and basements.

Drug and Alcohol Warning Signs in Teens

If you’re thinking that some of these signs are just part of adolescence – you’re right. Being moody, for example, is typical. Many teenagers also become sullen and angry, and distance themselves from school, family and activities they used to enjoy.

The key words here are frequency and excess – too often and too intense warrant close observation and tough love, including testing for drug use. Yes, it’s difficult to think about being so “tough” on your child, but it could be a matter of life and death - your child’s life. But truly when it comes to your child, wouldn’t you do anything to help save their life? If you turn a blind eye, the problem can only get worse. On the other hand, when you can talk about the problem openly – and do a simple drug test right at home – you’re doing something positive, supportive and loving.

Warning Signs of drug and alcohol abuse by teens

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