For parents, it can be tough to know the common indicators of substance abuse and addiction in their teenagers. Teens can be secretive and private about their activities, even when they are not harmful or cause for concern. Many symptoms of substance abuse could also be symptoms of other problems, or harmless things like allergies or insomnia. Knowing how to group signs together and gather information from talking with your child can help to determine whether there’s an issue.
Many teenagers who experiment with drugs or who are dependent on drugs or alcohol may experience trouble sleeping or severe fatigue. Pay attention to your teen’s sleep habits and whether or not they have changed dramatically during a short period of time. Asking about sleep problems can also help you to gauge what is going on.
One sign of drug abuse, particularly marijuana use, is red or bloodshot eyes. Teens may try to hide this with use of over the counter eye drops or sunglasses. If your teen is not suffering from a cold or allergies, but seems to constantly have red eyes, you may want to consider a trip to the doctor or a conversation with your teen about why the change in appearance.
Changes in Academics
A sudden drop in grades or lack of interest in school can be a sign of substance abuse in teens. If your teen is suddenly struggling to keep up in school, talk to the school and to your child about what is going on and what caused the change. While it can be any number of things, this can be a telling indicator that something is wrong.
Changes in Social Life
If your teen suddenly has a new group of friends, you may want to pay attention to their comings and goings, what the new group is like, and what has caused the shift in social circles.