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Signs and Symptoms of Drug Abuse in Teens

Signs and Symptoms of Drug Abuse in Teens

If you’re a parent of a child that’s behaving abnormally, you need to ensure they aren’t struggling with drug addiction. Knowing the warning signs of teenage substance abuse can help you get help early and start a recovery program for your child.

Common Signs of Drug Use in Teens

Physical Signs

The face and skin may experience changes, or you could notice weight fluctuations. You may discover these signs of drug abuse in your teenager:

  • Bloodshot eyes
  • The smell of smoke on their breath or clothes
  • Frequent tiredness and oversleeping

Behavioral Changes

You may also notice some of the following changes in your teen’s behavior:

  • Failure at school or poor grades
  • Poor hygiene
  • Loss of interest in social activities
  • Secretive behavior
  • Excessive eating
  • Loss of appetite
Father and son talking by the coach

How to Know if Your Teen is Using Alcohol or Drugs

After you’re familiar with the common teenage drug abuse signs, you need to know the tactics to prevent full-blown drug addiction.

  • Use your sense of smell: Have a face-to-face conversation when your child returns home after spending time with friends. The smell of their breath or clothes will tell you whether they’ve been smoking or drinking.
  • Look at their eyes: Look at your child’s eyes after they come home. If they’ve used marijuana, they’ll have constricted pupils and red eyes. If they’ve consumed too much alcohol, their pupils won’t focus.
  • Look out for mood swings: If your child becomes loud and laughs hysterically without reason or is clumsy, stumbling onto walls and tripping on furniture, then you need to act fast. These are signs of substance abuse.
  • Watch out for deceit: Keep an eye on fishy weekend plans. If your teen becomes vague about outings or they can’t come home at the right time, something is wrong, and you must take prompt action.
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Get Help for Drug Abuse in Teens

For more than 50 years, Gateway has been offering evidence-based treatment for drug abuse. When you notice some or all of these teenage drug abuse signs, call us at 877-377-2027 for urgent addiction treatment and counseling. Our helpline is available 24/7, or you can send us a direct message through our contact page at any time.