If you believe that your teenager is having problems with substance abuse, you will likely need to tread carefully. Whether your son or daughter is abusing alcohol, marijuana, cocaine, or other hard drugs, you’ll need to avoid a potentially violent confrontation until you’ve gathered some hard evidence. Here are five tips for recognizing substance abuse in a teenager.
1) Social Withdrawal
One of the first signs will likely be social withdrawal. Teens who were previously curious about the world, for example, may now refuse to take an interest in anything. This can be particularly obvious in teens who have long loved to play sports, go to amusement parks, and spend time with their parents and siblings. If your teen begins to retreat to the bedroom for the better part of the day, you will likely need to stage an intervention.
2) Declining Academic Performance
Likewise, a declining academic performance may also indicate a problem with substance abuse. While some teens may simply begin bringing home bad grades, others may start skipping school. In the worst cases, students may even be suspended or expelled from school. At the first sign of poor academic performance, you will likely want to have a serious sit-down discussion with your child.
3) Sudden Mood Changes
Some drugs cause mood instability that will become evident rather quickly. When teenagers abuse marijuana, for instance, they will likely remain in a drugged stupor for hours on end. While alcohol is technically classified as a depressant, it can also cause teens to become enormously angry when dealing with authority figures. Some teens, in fact, abuse drugs and alcohol to cover up bipolar depression and other mental health issues.
4) Poor Finances
If teens who have jobs are constantly asking to borrow money, they may be spending their paychecks on drugs. In some cases, teens may even steal money in order to feed their habits. If you find that money is disappearing from your wallet or purse, your teen’s addiction could be driving this deplorable behavior.
5) Drug Paraphernalia
Finally, you may notice pipes, lighters, and inhaling devices hidden away in the house. Marijuana pipes have very distinct characteristics. A scale may indicate that your teenager has also begun to deal drugs. The presence of paraphernalia, in fact, is a sure indicator that your child has become an addict.
In the end, substance abuse does not have to be a one-way ticket to despair. Once the problem has been identified, you should ask your teen to attend a rehabilitation facility. With a bit of hard work, your family can be made whole once again.