Josh Chandler | April 18, 2019

9 Signs Your Teenager Is Taking Drugs (And What to Do About It)

Have you noticed changes in your teenager? Take a look at these 9 signs that you may have a teen on drugs and learn what you can do about it below.

Millions of Americans struggle with drug and alcohol abuse every year, and many of them are teenagers.

By 12th grade, nearly two-thirds of high school students try alcohol. Nearly half of all 9th through 12th-grade students try marijuana at least once during this period, too.

Drug and alcohol consumption might be common among teenagers, but that doesn’t mean it should be accepted.

Teens who consume drugs and alcohol are more likely to struggle with addiction, engage in risky behaviors, and even develop health problems like heart disease as they get older.

Are you worried you might have a teen on drugs? It’s not always easy to tell when teens are abusing drugs or alcohol. Often, though, they will present at least a few of the following signs:

1. Changes in Behavior

It’s normal for kids’ behavior to change as they get older. If your teen’s behavior has changed in a dramatic way, though — to the extent that it’s affecting their relationships with other family members — this ought to be cause for concern.

Some common behavior changes that may be associated with drug or alcohol use include:

  • Arguing with siblings
  • Staying out past curfew
  • Blatantly defying rules
  • Reckless driving
  • Asking for money on a regular basis
  • Eating much more or less than they used to

If you’ve noticed your teen is speaking faster or more slowly than normal, this is another sign that they might be abusing drugs.

2. Emotional Changes

You may notice changes in your teen’s emotional state, too.

Some moodiness is normal with teenagers, but dramatic mood swings or emotional changes can be a sign that they’re abusing drugs or alcohol.

Has your teen suddenly begun to act withdrawn or depressed? Are they acting more secretive than usual?

Be on the lookout for changes in energy, too. Is your teen more excitable than normal? Do they seem restless or agitated?

3. Changes in Health or Hygiene

Does your teen seem to be sick more often than not? Are they regularly dealing with lethargy, chronic headaches, or periods of insomnia? Regular drug or alcohol consumption can weaken the immune system and increase the chances that one will get sick.

Changes in your child’s hygiene practices could be indicative of drug or alcohol abuse, too.

Have they suddenly stopped caring about their appearance and practicing basic hygiene (showering, brushing teeth, etc.)?

4. Changes at School

Is your child behaving differently at school? Have they been acting out in class or skipping class altogether? Have they been neglecting their homework and bringing home grades that are much lower than usual?

A change in behavior at school can be a sign that teens are abusing drugs or alcohol. Teachers are often the first ones to notice these changes.

If one of your child’s teachers has reached out to you and expressed concerns about their behavior, take those concerns seriously.

5. Changes in the Condition of Their Car

Take a good look at your teen’s car if you want to spot signs that they may be abusing drugs or alcohol. You may notice an odd smell in their car, or you might even find drug paraphernalia or empty bottles.

If your teen normally takes good care of their car but has been neglecting it lately, this could also be a sign of drug use.

6. Changes in Appearance

Sometimes, just looking closely at your teen is enough to determine whether or not they’re abusing drugs or alcohol. For example, are their eyes red or heavy-lidded? Are their pupils dilated or constricted? Take note of the state of their face, too. Is it red or flushed? This is often a sign that they have been drinking. Understanding these signs is crucial in seeking help from a Los Angeles inpatient drug rehab.

7. Changes in Friend Group

If your teen has recently started hanging out with a new group of friends, it may be a red flag that they’re engaging in drug or alcohol abuse.

They may also be abusing drugs or alcohol if they’ve stopped spending time with friends altogether.

8. Lying or Stealing

Have you noticed that your teen is lying to you about where they’re going, what they’re doing, or who they’re spending time with? Have they been stealing money from your purse or wallet?

Lying and stealing are classic signs of drug and alcohol abuse, and they need to be addressed right away.

9. Presence of Suspicious Items

Have you found suspicious items in your teen’s room, backpack, or jacket pocket?

Items like scales, empty bottles, needles, pipes, and lighters are all evidence of drug or alcohol use or abuse. If you find items like this in your teen’s possession, don’t just brush them off.

Do You Have a Teen on Drugs?

Do any of these signs resonate with you? Is it possible that your teen needs help overcoming drug addiction or underage drinking?

If you notice any of these signs in your teen, you need to take action right away. Before you confront your teen and address their behavior, take the following steps to make sure you’re prepared for the conversation:

  • Talk to your spouse about your suspicions and make sure you’re on the same page
  • Gather evidence to back up your case
  • Resolve to stay calm and avoid raising your voice or letting emotion take over
  • When you do sit down to talk, lay out clear rules and consequences

If your teen does not change their behavior after your conversation, you may need to get outside help and look into a rehabilitation program.

These programs will provide your teen with the resources they need to overcome their addiction to make a positive change in their lives.

Get Help for Your Teen Today

After reading through the signs of teenage drug and alcohol abuse, do you think that you have a teen on drugs?

If so, it’s imperative that you get them help as soon as possible.

Of course, you need to go about this in the right way. Sometimes, the best approach to helps teens overcome addiction is to enroll them in a rehabilitation program.

Do you need help finding the right program for your teen? If so, contact us at Muse Treatment today.

We have trained professionals standing by at all times to provide you with guidance and help figure out the best approach for your teen.

Addiction,Drug Addiction,
Josh Chandler
Josh Chandler
After growing up in Chicago and North Carolina, Josh chose to get help with substance use disorder and mental health in California because of the state's reputation for top-tier treatment. There, he found the treatment he needed to achieve more than five years of recovery. He's been in the drug and alcohol addiction rehab industry for four years and now serves as the Director of Admissions for Resurgence Behavioral Health. Josh remains passionate about the field because he understands that one phone call can alter the course of a person's life.

Research | Editorial
Call Now, We Can Help
Call Now Button (800) 426-1818