5 Signs Your Teen May Be Struggling with Addiction

Posted by admin on March 6, 2017

When it comes to parenting a teenager, no parent wants to think their child could be struggling with addiction.  And, what compounds the problem is that the symptoms can be hard to spot.  Teenagers tend to be moody, irritable and tired so it is easy to assume those behaviors are just your teen being a “normal teen.”  Some kids struggle in school as subject matter intensifies in high school so that is fairly common and if your child is struggling in school you may dismiss it. If you have noticed a change in your teenager’s behavior, or other common signs or symptoms of drug addiction, it is important to seek help.  The National Institute of Drug Abuse for Teachers reports the startling rate of addiction among teens, “According to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health, in 2015, more than 1 million youths in the United States between the ages of 12 and 17 met diagnostic criteria for problem use or dependence (addiction) on illicit drugs or alcohol. Of these, only 198,000 youths received treatment at a specialty facility.”  The sooner you notice and seek help for your teenager’s drug addiction, the better for effective treatment.  Diebold Behavioral Counseling has been successfully assisting families in treating teenager drug addiction for years.  With extensive experience in the unique challenges of teen drug addiction, we can help you become equipped with the tools needed to overcome addiction.  Not sure what to watch for? Below are 5 common signs of drug addiction in teenagers.

1. Change in Physical Appearance

  • Teenagers tend to care about their appearance as they are trying to “fit in” or navigate social dynamics.  If your teenager’s appearance or personal hygiene begins to change or deteriorate, it may be a symptom of drug addiction.  Additionally, if you notice your teen has bloodshot eyes, unexpected weight loss, pale skin, baggy eyes, chapped lips or other changes to their typical appearance.

2. Social Withdrawal / Change in Relationships or Peer Groups

  • Regardless of how your teen socializes normally (whether they have a lot of friends and are very social or a few friends and are generally quiet) – if you notice that they have begun to withdraw from their friends or close relationships it is time for a closer look at what may be going on.  Further, if you notice that your teen has suddenly begun hanging out with a new group of friends without a significant reason for doing so, it may be a sign of addiction.

3. Missing Money, Valuables or Prescription Medication

  • If you notice money, valuables or your prescription medication has gone missing, that is often one of the first signs of drug addiction in a teenager.  Prescription medication should be kept locked in a secure cabinet or box at all times.  But, if you notice something is missing, do not simply dismiss it as having been misplaced.

4. Change in Academic Performance

  • If your teen suddenly starts performing poorly in school, or grades begin to decline in general, they may be struggling with drug addiction.   There may be other reasons for a change so it is important to have an open dialog with your child.

5. Change in Personality

  • Teens tend to be moody and a little unpredictable – that is not new.  But, if your teenager suddenly starts behaving very differently or becomes irritable, angry, moody, depressed, withdrawn, erratic or strange, it may be a sign of drug addiction.
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