Common Signs Your Teenager is Abusing Drugs

By  //  November 19, 2019

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Adolescence and puberty is not an easy phase of life to go through. Teenagers generally tend to feel alienated and misunderstood, and are always eager to get a sense of self identity and to fit in with their peers as well.

Adolescence and puberty is not an easy phase of life to go through. Teenagers generally tend to feel alienated and misunderstood, and are always eager to get a sense of self identity and to fit in with their peers as well.

And with this comes exposure to many temptations, the most dangerous being drugs. The biggest issue currently is how easily accessible and available many drugs are.

As a parent, it would be your absolute nightmare to discover that your child has been abusing drugs. However, there is a silver lining in that there is help, and from people and institutions that are not only professionals but are also devoted to treating people’s addiction.

Professionals from Recovery at the Crossroads, a reputable rehab center in New Jersey, clarifies that there may be different types of treatment, but that’s just because cases vary from one to the other.

They also do take quite a bit of time, and it can even be trying at times, but it’s worth it in the end when your teen is longer a victim and your family is able to become a happy unit again.

It also helps if you can identify the problem as soon as possible, as it is most unlikely that your child will come and tell you themselves.

This is why we’ve compiled a list of the most common signs that will help you identify if your teenager is abusing drugs.

Behavioral Indicators

If you start noticing a shift in your teenager’s behavior, no matter how subtle it may be, then it’s time for you to initially just keep a close eye on certain details.

If you start noticing a shift in your teenager’s behavior, no matter how subtle it may be, then it’s time for you to initially just keep a close eye on certain details.

These do not automatically mean that they are doing drugs for sure, but they certainly call for concern and attention, and more often than not, it indicates that there might be an issue at hand that could involve the abuse of drugs.

  • Losing interest in activities & hobbies: Teenagers generally do tend to shift away from activities a little bit in order to focus more on their social lives, but when it goes to an extreme or happens suddenly in a manner where they completely stop or even seem lethargic and unable to tend to the things you know they normally love, this should be a sign of concern.
  • Losing remorse: When your child no longer reacts to consequence, you should take this as a red flag. If you’ve set them a curfew, they will probably start missing it more often, and will not really care about the consequences. They’ll show signs of disrespect and disregard to any of your concerns.
  • Avoid eye-contact: Generally, when a person is lying, they will either look you straight in the eye in an unnatural manner, or try to avoid eye contact altogether. If your teen is using drugs then they will probably try to avoid eye contact because you will be able to tell if their eyes look strange.
  • Behavior at school: They will start skipping classes and losing interest in their studies in general. You’ll be able to tell by their declining grades as well. A big indicator would be a shift in the crowd that they move with and possibly cutting ties with the friends that you know about.

Physical Indicators

Along with the behavioral indicators, the more telling signs that your teen might be abusing drugs would be the physical signs that are easier to catch than the behavioral ones.

  • Tense & anxious: A teenager that uses drugs has a change in their overall demeanor. They tend to tense up very easily and become anxious and fidgety. They have a harder time controlling their temper as well. Most of all, they tend to be extremely paranoid.
  • Bad hygiene: Their physical appearance takes a toll in terms of being able to stay as hygienic as they used to be. When teenagers begin to neglect their appearance and their hygiene, this is something you want to look into. 
  • Pupils look unnatural: When people do drugs, you can usually tell by the eyes. Look for bloodshot or extremely puffy eyes. Also pay close attention to the pupils – if they’re overly larger or smaller than usual, then this is a sure shot sign of abuse.
  • Extremes in actions: If they become extremely hyperactive or extremely lethargic, then this is something you need to pay attention to. 
  • Track marks: This is for the most extreme situations, but you should keep an eye out nonetheless. Look at the arms and legs to see if there are any track marks in case they are taking the drugs through injections.
  • Sweating & Shaking: If they begin to sweat a lot and it seems unnatural, or if they sometimes have shivering and shaky, this also could be a sign.
  • Extreme weight change: Teenagers who abuse drugs usually have an extreme change in their weight- they either put on too much or lose too much.

If you notice any of these signs and begin to suspect that your teenager may be abusing drugs, do get in touch with either a helpline or a rehab center so they can guide you on what to do next.

The thing is, you want to be able to help your teenager in a way where you can save them in time before it becomes a full blown issue. It’s important that you also pay attention to the overall picture.

If your family has a history of alcohol or drug abuse, then you need to do the best you can keep your children away from any kind of temptation as they are already susceptible to having an addictive behavior.

You also want to ensure that you keep them as preoccupied as possible with fun after-school activities and get them involved in new hobbies so that they are kept busy, and also so that they can meet other kids that are on the right track.

A big part of addiction starts with the company they keep, so allowing them exposure to the right kind of people really does make a big difference.

Try to spend more time with your kids and try to have them live in a secure and happy environment to the best of your ability.

If you are able to maintain a close relationship with your kids, you become more likely to be able to help them if they ever experience these kinds of issues such as addiction.

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