How to Spot Early Signs of Drug Addiction

 In Substance Abuse

Teenagers are highly susceptible to trying drugs at some point. This occurs because of the vast array of people that they are exposed to at school. There are parties, and children with parents that do drugs themselves, the people run the gamut. If you are afraid that your teen might be on drugs, there are a few different ways to deal with that. First, you have to remain calm, this is the most critical piece; if you harshly come at your teenager, there is a good chance they will pull back and become even more involved in a world that they don’t necessarily think they belong either.

Staying Calm When Early Signs of Drug Addiction Arise

Yes, it is not easy to confront someone that you want to protect and love so much about drug use, but it is something that must be done. One great way to keep a handle on your emotions is to give it a few days and think hard about what you are going to say. You should also be absolutely sure that they are doing drugs, and it’s not just a hunch. Please take a deep breath, and keep a journal about how they look and act when they arrive home, what times are they coming home, and who else is with them. Keeping notes is a great way to sort out facts from emotions and prepare you to confront your child.

How Can I Tell If My Teen is On Drugs?

If they are drinking alcohol, you should be able to smell it fairly easily on their breath. If they are smoking pot, they will probably be eating more food than usual, and their eyes will be bright red. You will probably be able to smell pot smoke on them as well. Other drugs like cocaine, Adderal, methamphetamine, or other types of speed will reveal themselves in their socializing, sleeping habits, and possible weight loss. If your child is no longer sleeping for more extended periods, then one of these drugs could be the culprit. When it comes to opiates, your child will probably be doing things like falling to sleep at the dinner table, or repeatedly in class, they can also experience weight loss and memory problems.

General signs of drug use are:

  • Rapid Change in Relationships
  • All of a Sudden Doing Poorly in School or Work
  • Needing More Money than Usual
  • More Secretive and Vague
  • Significant Changes in Behavioral Patterns
  • Changes in Appetite
  • Lack of Energy or Spilling Over with Energy
  • Physical Changes

For a parent to see any of this can certainly be alarming. Keep in mind that your teen is going through a lot at this time in their lives, and some changes are to be expected. Significant mood swings and excessive defensiveness could be the big red flag that starts a conversation about drug use.


Why Intervene In My Teen’s Life?

This is the prime age for people to become addicted to drugs or alcohol over the long term. People that abuse drugs or alcohol as a teen are more likely to be lifelong addicts than those that do not become addicted before adulthood. This occurs because the brain is still not fully formed.

If your child is addicted to drugs, think about getting them to detox and into treatment. One of the best ways to convey to your child that this is important and should be of concern to them is to show them how much their life will be limited in the long run if they remain on drugs and in the party scene at school. You can make an example with a post-it note and a piece of printer paper. Tell them that the post-it note represents the scope of their life now, you can even write down the things they are capable of like:

  • Partying
  • Service Jobs
  • Living in an Apartment

Then on the larger piece of paper, you can show them that there are whole other worlds that they still have not explored like:

  • College
  • Well Paying Jobs
  • Traveling the World
  • Recognition
  • Having a Family
  • Finding True Love
  • And the List Goes On


If you think that your child is on drugs, remain calm, this can not be stressed enough. Find a good time to talk to them; one of the best times will probably be when they are hungover or withdrawing from whatever drug they had been on. Then speak to them, help them to see that their current behavior could hinder them for the rest of their lives. The Adolescent Wellness Academy works to help teens get through this tumultuous part of their lives using various addiction treatment solutions. We are a part of Principle Recovery Center in Davie, FL, contact us if your teen needs help today!

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