Parenting is never easy, and despite what kids think there is a lot of guesswork in it. The teenage years can be particularly rough. Kids at this age begin to rebel, testing boundaries and finding their own identity. This can make recognizing the signs of drug addiction difficult. Many of the symptoms of being a teenager also fit the symptoms of addiction.
Here are a few common warning signs that your teen may be struggling with addiction.
Teens go through behavioral changes as they grow, but there are some very clear changes in behavior that may indicate your teenager is using drugs. Some of the most common behavioral signs are,
- Academic performance declining
- Missing school or other obligations
- Getting into conflicts
- Showing symptoms of anxiety disorder or depression
- Becoming defiant, hostile, or uncooperative (such as violating curfew or ignoring rules)
- Increased illegal activity or behavior (such as trespassing, stealing etc.)
- Loss of interest in hobbies or activities
- Changing friends or social circles
- Unexplained disappearances for significant periods of time
- Complaints from teachers, classmates, or others
- Avoiding eye contact
- Lack of respect for authority
- Newfound demand for privacy and acting secretive
- Isolation from family and friends
Parents will notice that many of these warning signs can also be chalked up to normal teenage behavior, which is true. If your teen is exhibiting one or more of these behavioral changes that does not mean they have a drug addiction, it simply means that they might have one.
Teenagers struggling with addiction or substance abuse will also exhibit psychological changes as well as behavioral ones. Psychotropic, personality or mood changes are common warning signs. This includes,
- Slurred or rapid speech
- Frequent moods swings or emotional instability
- Extreme emotion highs and lows
- Unexplained laughter
- Manipulative or deceitful behavior
- Unexplained fear or paranoia
- Decreased motivation
- Low energy
- Periods of drowsiness followed by high energy
- Memory issues
- Poor concentration
Just as with the behavioral changes, many of these psychological warning signs are also normal teen behavior. The frequency, duration, and the number of these changes indicate whether or not parents should be concerned. If you notice a few of these changes keep your eye out for other psychological warning signs.
Addiction takes a serious toll on the body. If you notice behavioral and psychological changes in your teenager, also keep your eye out for these health issues that could be the result of substance abuse:
- Changes in appetite
- Changes in sleep habits or irregular sleep habits (such as insomnia or oversleeping)
- Coordination problems
- Nosebleeds or a runny nose
- Excessive thirst
- Nausea or vomiting
- Seizures (without a medical history of them)
- Shakes or tremors
- Sweating or chills
- Sudden weight loss or gain
There can be very serious health complications that come from substance abuse. During the adolescence years, your child’s body and brain are going through serious changes. Health complications during this time can have long-lasting effects.
There are many statistics that show when addiction begins in adolescence it can have impacts for the rest of their life. It is best to catch substance abuse as soon as possible. If you are concerned about your child and think they may be struggling with addiction please contact us. We offer a variety of specialized outpatient detox options that can help you and your teen through this.