When teenagers begin using drugs or alcohol, they are at an increased risk of developing an addiction disorder by the time they reach adulthood. Therefore, it is important for parents, caregivers, teachers, and other important individuals in a teen’s life to be aware of the signs that can indicate drug or alcohol abuse and addiction.
It is important to note that while many teens do experiment with drugs and alcohol, not all of they are abusing these substances or dependent on them. With that said, if you notice any of the following signs in a teen in your life, there is a chance that he or she may have a problem:
- Reduced academic performance
- Disinterest; many teens who abuse and are addicted to substances and were once social active become disinterested in their friends and extracurricular activities.
- Diminishing pride in appearance; poor hygiene, wearing dirty clothing, etc
- Dilated pupils and bloodshot eyes
- Avoidance; teens who are abusing and addicted to drugs or alcohol often avoid making contact with parents and other adults.
- Weight loss
- Changes in behavior; wild mood swings, irritability, uncontrollable laughter for no reason, etc
- Acting secretive
- Lashing out
If you spot any of these issues in a teen in your life, it’s important to take proper action. Parents, caregivers, older siblings, teachers, and other trusted adults should attempt to communicate with teens about important issues; including substance abuse and addiction. With proper intervention, it is possible to get your teen the help that he or she needs to prevent further problems, such as serious health issues and a lifetime of addiction. Speaking to a teen in a friendly, approachable, yet matter-of-fact way is recommended. Avoid blaming or criticizing, as your loved one will likely deny any claims and can ultimately lead to increased drug or alcohol abuse.