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7 Signs your Teen is Using Drugs

Drug addicts are adept at hiding their destructive behavior, making it difficult to recognize whether someone has a problem.

Recognizing teenage drug use becomes even more problematic, because they enjoy being secretive about even mundane activities, as it gives them a feeling of independence from their parents. Differentiating between normal teenage behavior and a drug problem sometimes requires help. There are some signs of drug abuse in teens. If you believe your teenager has a drug problem, you may want to seek help on how to talk to him or her, as well as investigating the best option for treatment or staging a drug or alcohol intervention.

Drug abuse or addiction requires professional help. Drug Treatment and Rehab Centers (DTRC) offers residential drug treatment for teens, as well as mental health and dual diagnosis treatment. If you fear your teenager is using drugs, you can call our Admission team at (714) 589-2811 for help with your situation.

Signs of Drug Addiction in Teenagers

There are obvious signs that your teenager is using drugs, such as finding drugs and drug paraphernalia, catching him or her in the act of using, or seeing him or her under the influence of drugs. However, most parents who are concerned about their teenager are not presented with such obvious signs, so they must look for more subtle clues of drug use and abuse. If you are concerned your teenager is abusing drugs, you can look for the following seven signs.

Red Eyes

One sign of potential teen drug abuse is bloodshot eyes or dilated pupils. Teenagers using drugs may try to hide their red eyes by using eye drops. Bloodshot eyes alone should not make you certain your teenager has a drug problem, as there are other reasons for red eyes, including a lack of sleep and allergies. However, if you notice chronic bloodshot eyes or dilated pupils with no other reason, especially if this is accompanied by some of the other signs, your teenager might be using drugs.

Problems in School

When a teenager uses drugs, he or she typically begins to encounter problems in school. If your child starts to have poor grades, skips classes, has problems with teachers or other students, or generally misbehaves, then you should be concerned that he or she has a problem, especially if this pattern of behavior is uncharacteristic. These problems could be attributed to something besides drugs, such as a mental health disorder or bullying, which also should be addressed.

Missing Things

One sign that your teenager has a drug problem is if you notice missing items around the house, especially money, valuable possessions, and prescription drugs. Your teenager might be stealing from you in order to pay for his or her drug habit. If you find your prescription drugs are missing, your teenager might be abusing your prescription, especially if it is an opioid pain or anxiety medication.

Isolating Oneself

Another sign of drug use in teenagers is isolation. If you find your teenager becoming more isolated, withdrawn, depressed, or angry, especially if it is uncharacteristic, then you should seek help. Even if it is not drugs causing the problem, there might be something more going on than just the teenage blues, such as depression, anxiety, or other psychological problems. Sometimes, feelings of depression or loneliness can lead to a teenager abusing drugs. Alternatively, some drugs can alter a person’s mood and make them no longer as involved in activities as they once were, or feel depressed when not on the drug.

Changing Friends

It is not uncommon for teenagers to change friends. However, if you find your teenager has dropped one set of friends for another that seems more dangerous, especially if he or she is secretive about the new friends, then it could be a sign that he or she is using drugs or otherwise at risk.

No Longer Interested in Hobbies

Another sign of drug use in teenagers is no longer being interested in favorite activities or hobbies. Changing an interest during the teenage years does not automatically mean your child has a larger problem. Tastes change, or your teenager might feel peer pressure about not doing something anymore about which he or she feels embarrassed. However, if your teenager stops an activity and then lies about how he or she spends the time, it could be a sign of drug use or another serious problem.

A Desire for Privacy

Teenagers love their privacy, so having a teenager who is secretive and does not tell you things does not mean he or she is involved in using drugs or other destructive behaviors. However, if your teenager seems to be excessively private and secretive, including locking doors, avoiding eye contact, and sneaking around, he or she might be dealing with more than just typical teenage angst.

Treatment for Drug Use

If your teenager is exhibiting any of these behaviors, and you think it is due to a drug problem, you should discuss the situation with a professional, who can provide you with some drug intervention steps. Even if your teenager is not using drugs, some of these signs could signal some other issue requiring professional help. Early detection and treatment provides the best chance for recovery.

At Drug Treatment and Rehab Centers (DTRC) we offer treatment for drug problems in adolescents and adults, as well as mental health disorders and dual diagnosis. If you want to discuss your concerns, you can call our Admissions team at (714) 589-2811. The will help you figure out how to talk to your teenager and get him or her appropriate treatment for the situation.

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