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Warning Signs of Teenage Alcohol and Drug Abuse

January 7, 2013 by  
Filed under Teen Drug Abuse

Warning Signs of Teenage Alcohol and Drug Abuse

It can be difficult to determine if your teen is abusing drugs and alcohol. Some of the signs of teen alcohol abuse like isolation or unkempt appearance can also be normal signs of puberty. Maybe you caught your teen smoking pot. They swear it was the first time, or that the pot isn’t theirs. How do you know if it’s just experimentation or something more serious?

Warning Signs of Teenage Alcohol and Drug Abuse: Drugs are more common than ever before

Teens have more access to drugs and alcohol than ever before. Alcohol, marijuana and MDMA are the most popular drugs among teens, but prescription drug and heroin abuse is rising with alarming frequency. Street drugs are also far more pure and powerful today than they have been in previous generations. “Legal” drugs like bath salts, spice, and kratom are also readily available to today’s teens.

Warning Signs of Teenage Alcohol and Drug Abuse: How to recognize a problem

Finding drug paraphernalia or alcohol are obvious warning signs. However, warning signs of teenage alcohol and drug abuse are often far more subtle. Some of the warning signs mimic normal adolescent behavior. These include:

  • Mood swings
  • Depression
  • Dishonesty
  • Anger
  • Irritability
  • Short-term memory loss
  • Money or valuables missing around the house
  • Suspicious phone calls
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Poor hygiene
  • Changes in sleep habits
  • Isolation
  • Association with a new group of friends
  • Trouble in school
  • Loss of interest in things they used to enjoy

Warning Signs of Teenage Alcohol and Drug Abuse: Prevention

The best way to recognize the warning signs of teenage alcohol and drug abuse is to be involved with your teen. Make random calls to their school to inquire about their attendance. Keep up with your teen’s grades. If they suddenly begin to drop, it may be a warning sign of teenage alcohol and drug abuse.

Set rules for your teen and stick to them. Often, when a teen begins abusing drugs and alcohol, their behavior and attitude towards you will become hostile. If you notice big changes in the way that your teen interacts with you, it could be one of the warning signs of teenage alcohol and drug abuse.

Talking to your teen before they try drugs and alcohol has also been shown to prevent teen and alcohol drug abuse. Keep the lines of communication open, and talk about drugs and alcohol before there is a problem.

Warning Signs of Teenage Alcohol and Drug Abuse: How to help them

If you suspect your teen is abusing alcohol and drugs, but you don’t know for sure, you can get a drug test from a local pharmacy. Keep in mind, however, that these tests are easily fooled. If you suspect your teen might be trying to fool the test, you can take them to be tested at a diagnostic facility, where conditions are more regulated. If you think your teen has a problem, talk to their doctor about available treatment options. Early intervention is key.

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