The teenage years can be filled with constant change, and is usually considered a tumultuous time period. Teen years can often be marked by defiance, arguments, and a lack of communication. In most instances, displays of rebellion are a normal part of growing up. However, that thinking can also mask certain, deeper issues. Some of those issues may include mental illness or addiction issues, both of which can be addressed at the Palm Beach Institute.
What To Look For
The following are 11 signs of teen drug addiction:
- Missing Money from Your Purse or Wallet— One of the most tell-tale signs that your teenager is using drugs is missing cash or credit cards from your wallet or purse. Whether or not your teenager is employed, obtaining drugs can cost a substantial amount of money. If a teen does not have the funds, the first place they often look is in a parent’s wallet or a purse.
- Increased Legal Trouble— If your teen or adolescent is starting to run into trouble with law enforcement, or is being arrested for crimes such as shoplifting, theft, or breaking curfew, he could be abusing drugs or alcohol.
- Their Room Becomes “Off Limits”— Often, if teenagers are using drugs and/or alcohol at home they may put a lock on their door or may have secret hiding spots for their stash. Another indicator is that they may be spending more time alone in their room.
- Secrecy— If your teenager is hiding activities or is defensive about where they are going and who they are with, that could be a sign of drug use and activity.
- Changes in Eating Habits— The increase in the use of drugs—especially stimulant drugs— can suppress the appetite.
- Paraphernalia— If you notice certain items in your child’s room such as baggies, foil, rolling papers, empty bottles or pipes, chances are that your child is using drugs.
- Isolation— If your once-social child starts spending an inordinate amount of time away from home or locked in his or her room, that can be a major red flag. If your teen starts withdrawing, there is usually a reason behind that.
- Mood Swings— If your teen is outgoing and friendly one moment, but then becomes combative, or depressed, the next moment, that also could be a warning sign of addiction.
- Risky Behavior— A display of destructive behaviors like vandalism, truancy, and, theft, can be indications that your child is trying to fund their habit. Also, impulsive behaviors, like getting piercings or tattoos, could be acts of rebellion, and may need to be examined closer.
- Friends— If your child has abandoned his usual group of friends and is hanging out with a new crowd, that you know nothing about, it could be a sign your teen is using drugs. Usually, teens and adults who use drugs typically associate with others who are using drugs.
- Family History— If there is a prior family history of substance abuse, there is an increased risk that your child can develop similar behaviors.
If you find that your adolescent or teen is engaging in risky behavior, such as experimenting with drugs or alcohol, it is best to get them help when you first learn of the behavior. If you wait, the problem can quickly escalate, and become much more difficult to deal with. If your loved one refuses help, the Palm Beach Institute can help to put you into contact with various intervention specialists.