Having teenagers in the house can be a challenge all on its own. The nature of being a teenager is difficult for most parents to deal with anyway, but when you throw a drug or alcohol addiction into the mix, it can seem unbearable. It can also have a tremendous impact on their entire future.
That makes it especially important for parents of teenagers to be aware of the signs of possible substance abuse in their teens.
Most experts in the field of teenage substance abuse will tell you that there were signs showing for quite a while that the teen was headed for trouble, but that no one paid attention to them soon enough.
Here are some signs to watch for that could indicate your teenager is using drugs or alcohol:
- Obligations start getting missed – this can include homework not getting done on time (when this wasn’t a problem before), chores around the house not getting done, and things of that nature
- Moodiness – this can be difficult to spot, because teenagers can be moody by nature. However, if their moodiness becomes angry, aggressive or withdrawn for no reason at all, it could be a sign of substance abuse
- A change in friends – this is when your teen suddenly stop being friends with their “old” friends and start hanging out with a new group
- Isolation – again, normal teens will likely be less interested in family activities in their teen years, but if it gets extreme, it could be a problem
- Change in sleeping habits – this could include getting much more sleep than normal as well as getting much less. Changes this large are likely due to substance abuse
- Poor personal hygiene – this is when your formerly well groomed teen suddenly stops brushing their teeth or bathing regularly
- Nausea – this includes nausea that can’t be explained
- Lifestyle changes – an example of this is a teen who has always been interested in exercise who suddenly stops working out. As a parent, be aware of any kind of a lifestyle change that seems out or character
It is important to note that just because you see these signs, it doesn’t automatically mean your teen is abusing drugs. You have to look at everything related to what is normal for your child. You also need to determine if there are other reasons for the change you are seeing.
If you see multiple signs that can’t be explained, it’s time to act.