Is My Teen Using Drugs?

Teenagers are cranky. They’re secretive, sometimes make excuses, and are often defensive. Even the most well-behaved adolescent sometimes acts in mind-boggling ways — but does this angst-ridden behavior mean your teen is using drugs? The not-so-simple answer: maybe.

Recognizing the Signs of Abuse

Late adolescence is a notoriously difficult stage. As you teenager earns more independence, you’re less likely to know what he’s doing, where he’s going and everything in between. And although certain behaviors are normal — for example, your healthy teen likely won’t become a weekend early bird anytime soon — if you notice certain signs repeating themselves with consistency, drug use might be a problem. Remember, not every teen does drugs, but all teens who do drugs demonstrate many of these symptoms with regularity:

  • Changes at school, such as a sudden drop in grades or loss of interest in once-loved activities
  • Hanging out with new people, or spending a lot of time alone
  • Unpredictable mood swings, especially if accompanied by excitability, anxiety, paranoia or negativity
  • Being late or skipping important responsibilities consistently
  • Worsening memory and attention problems
  • Lying, cheating and stealing — are there missing valuables or prescription medicines?
  • Changes in mental health, such as worsening depression
  • Changes in appearance and hygiene
  • Changes in eating habits
  • Evidence of drug use, such as rolling papers, lighters, cough syrup containers, odor, paraphernalia, paper bags, empty household cleanser bottles, dirty spoons\

What to Do if Your Teen Uses Drugs

You don’t have to wait until your teen wants to get help or hits rock bottom. Think of addiction like escaping from a deep hole: the bigger it is, the harder the climb. Plus, even people who resisted getting help at first often point to a loved one’s intervention as a reason getting sober became important. Stay calm — your teen needs you now more than ever before, and making decisions with a firm purpose and a clear mind is essential.

Confront your teen gently about what you know. Expect to hear excuses, lies and promises to quit — those are all addictive behaviors. Contact 12 Keys Rehab to talk about your options. With early intervention and comprehensive care, your teen can recover from substance abuse.

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