Last updated: December 4, 2023
While teens are known for having tumultuous and stormy personalities, substance abuse may sometimes be a contributing factor. In cases of drug use, the lives of teenagers can tumble out of control quite rapidly. If you spot any of the following six signs of drug abuse in teens, you should take action before the problem grows irrevocably worse.
1) Poor Academic Performance
One of the most troubling aspects of teen drug use is its effect on academic performance. When a noticeable drop in grade point average occurs in just one semester, teens may be too caught up in their drug use to worry about studying. Likewise, addicts might begin acting out in class or skipping school altogether. Students sometimes also quit extracurricular activities that they had previously enjoyed.
2) Neglect of Personal Appearance or Hygiene
Teens who have become addicts often pay little attention to their personal appearances. Tousled hair and dirty clothes, for example, are often quite noticeable. In fact, when teenagers go for several days without combing their hair or brushing their teeth, this is a good indication that they may be perpetually under the influence. Some teens may even avoid showering for weeks on end. Flushed cheeks and dilated pupils can also point toward drug abuse.
3) Personality Changes
While most teens are moody from time to time, long-term personality changes may indicate drug use. Some teens may withdraw from family members and spend most of their time in their bedrooms. Others may become loud and obnoxious. Teens who show a complete disregard for parental authority may even pose dangers to themselves or others. In some cases, they may become suspiciously secretive, especially if they have been engaging in risky sexual behavior.
4) Odd Health Issues
As a parent or guardian, you might also notice odd health issues. Headaches and queasy stomachs are common symptoms, and your teen may avoid going to work or school several days each week. Some teens may experience weight loss or weight gain. Others might develop obvious mental health issues. Depression, anxiety and paranoia are all symptoms that should be carefully monitored.
5) Disappearance of Household Objects
When prescription pills belonging to other members of the household disappear, your teen may be responsible. In fact, teenagers might also steal money or other valuable objects, which they can then use to pay for their growing drug habits. If you suspect that your teen is engaging in malevolent behavior, you’ll likely need to arrange for professional assistance.
6) Suspicious Habits
If drug use is rampant, teens may begin chewing gum to cover up the smell of marijuana on their clothes. Scented candles and air fresheners might also be used much more frequently. In severe instances, drug addicts might use eye drops or other over-the-counter medical products to cover up red eyes or perpetually dripping noses. In the case of marijuana, teens will likely develop ferocious appetites that will lead them to constantly raid the refrigerator.
If teens are headed for serious addiction problems, you will want to offer your unwavering support. Drug rehabilitation centers, for example, will allow young folks to kick their habits and get back on the road to recovery. With help from trained professionals, teens can take back their lives and go on to successful careers.