Thread: Signs of Drug and Alcohol Abuse in Teenagers
The more educated parents are about drug and alcohol abuse, the easier it will be to quickly intervene and help your teenager before the problem progress into full-blown addiction. There are physical signs of substance abuse, but it's important to remember that these signs may also indicate another problem. Different substances have different symptoms, but an illness (other than substance abuse) should never be ruled out. These symptoms along with behavioral signs, such as lying, depression, missing school, and secretive behavior, are indications of substance abuse.
Some of the physical signs of substance abuse are:
* Changes in sleep patterns. Either sleeping too much, sleeping very little, trouble falling asleep, or difficulty staying asleep.
* Speech is affected. Speech is slurred, or talking excessively and rapidly.
* Eyes are affected. Eyes are red, watery, or glassy; pupils are larger or smaller than usual.
* Walking is impaired. Staggering or walking very slowly.
* Poor motor coordination. Dropping things; excessively clumsy.
* Change in eating habits. Significant increase or decrease in appetite; unusual and/or unexplained weight loss or gain.
* Impaired hands. Shaking hands; excessively sweaty hands; very cold hands.
* Skin injuries. Unusual skin abrasions or bruises; needle marks; rashes around nose and mouth.
* Poor hygiene. Neglecting appearance, not bathing.
* Nose and throat. Nose bleeds; runny nose; sniffing excessively; hacking cough; smoker's cough.
* Unusual smell. Pungent or smoky smell on breath, body, or clothes; smell of alcohol on breath or body.
* Illness. Nausea, throwing up, excessive sweating, dizziness, frequently feeling faint.
* Shaking. Shaking, twitching, or tremors of hands, legs, feet, or head.
* Changes in Face. Puffiness, blushing, excessively pale.
* Nervous. Excessive nervousness, irritability, anxiety, restlessness.
* Irregular heartbeat. Heart beating rapidly, skipping beats, pounding, high blood pressure.
* Impaired thinking. Paranoid, irrational, or bizarre thoughts.
* Increased accidents or injuries. Accidents in the house, reports from teachers, noticeable injuries.
If you do notice any of these signs, have a discussion with your teenager, preferably when emotions are calm, and consult a professional. It's also recommended that you make an appointment for your teenager with your family doctor to rule out any illnesses or conditions. Drug and alcohol abuse always indicates a multi-dimensional problem, and experts in the substance abuse field are equipped to determine a treatment plan for your child.
Thanks a lot for the information. Detecting signs may be helpful for the parents whose children are prone to the abuse.
If you notice a change in your teen's normal activities or behavior, and you cannot explain it as due to the typical issues of adolescence, it may be a sign of alcohol or substance abuse. Pay attention to changes in your child's appearance, friends and peer group, way of expressing him or herself, school performance, extracurricular activities or hobbies, and overall behavior.
If your teen now refuses to do chores, misses curfew regularly, creates a chaotic and hostile environment in the home, and frequently appears to be depressed, agitated, or "sleepy," you should investigate further, maintain clear channels of communication, and set clear boundaries and rules.
Specific Signs to Note:
Change in sleeping patterns
Change in friends or peer group
Slurred or agitated speech
Change in clothing, appearance
Changes in grades
Unusual smell on clothing or breath
Complaints from teachers
Hyperactive or hyper-aggressive
Furtive or secretive behavior