How To Tell If Your Child Is Addicted to Drugs or Alcohol
Substance abuse is a very serious and scary disorder, especially when your child is struggling with it. If your teenager is addicted to drugs or alcohol, you should take action and get them the help they need as soon as possible. However, the similarities between the symptoms of drug abuse and the typical behaviors of a rebellious teenager may make it hard to determine when your child is addicted to drugs. Additionally, your child might get angry with you and lose trust in you if you wrongfully accuse them of using drugs. So how do you know when your teenage child is actually struggling with addiction, and what next steps should you take to approach them?
Addiction & Adolescence: How They Connect
Signs of Drug Use and Abuse in Teens
All substances have different mental and physical side effects, so it may be hard to tell when your child is using. There are also many ways for teens to hide the physical signs, like glassy or red eyes. Therefore, you’ll have to focus on how your child is acting to determine whether or not they are dealing with an addiction. While the side effects vary between each type of substance, there are some general warning signs that your child may be addicted to drugs or alcohol.
A teenager who has a substance abuse disorder may display the following behaviors:
- Getting lower grades or having poor performance at school
- Having drug-related items in their pockets, room, or backpack
- Being frequently late to/absent from school or work
- Lying about or not telling you where they’re going
- Disrespecting family members or rules
- Withdrawing from responsibilities
- Needing and spending a lot of money
- Appearing unhappy or depressed
- Spending a lot of time in their room
- Overreacting to criticism
- Changing their friend groups
- Having mood swings or being erratic
- Breaking curfew or sneaking out
- Giving excuses for their bad behavior
- Having poor hygiene habits
- Sharing few details about their personal lives
- Losing interest in things they used to enjoy
- Emotionally, verbally, or physically attacking others
- Taking money from your wallet or home
- Having a sudden increase or decrease in appetite
- Losing or gaining a significant amount of weight
- Frequently losing valuable items or money
It is important to remember that even if your child is being secretive and withdrawn, that does not necessarily mean that they are addicted to drugs. You should trust your instincts as a parent, but you should not accuse them of drug or alcohol use without knowing for sure.
Is Your Child Addicted to Drugs Or Alcohol?
Treating Substance Abuse in Teenagers
The main thing to remember is that it is not your job to handle this alone. Both you and your child deserve support and help to get through this difficult time. A doctor or psychologist will be able to talk to you about your situation and recommend a treatment plan that works for your family. Treatment methods may include a combination of talk therapy, group counseling, medication, support meetings, and more.
To learn more about substance abuse in teenagers, contact our team of addiction treatment specialists by calling 267.719.8689.