As a parent there are many things you are worried about, amongst those things is the big question, is your teenager using drugs? This can be a touchy subject that is not easily answered. It takes time to figure out your teenagers’ behaviour patterns and with that, you can compare and see if there are some abnormal changes in their behaviour.
Here are some things you need to look out for if you are trying to figure out if your teenager is using drugs.
Any Behavioral Changes
If you have noticed any behavioural changes that are affecting relationships with family members that were previously stable, could be a sign of substance abuse. Arguing with everyone, extreme mood swings or lashing out in anger could be a sign of them using drugs. Even though staying out late and not following ground rules is the classic teenage behaviour. But, these behavioural patterns can also mean that they are staying out, driving recklessly, asking for money and despairing for an abnormal period could be a dead giveaway that they are using drugs.
There are some more physical signs you can look out for like, red eyes, very fast or slurred speech, incessant sniffling, appetite changes, manic behaviour or poor coordination. It all depends on the substance that they are using, different drugs have different side effects. It is very important that you are honest and close to your teenager so they feel comfortable talking to you about anything.
Drastic Emotional Changes
We all know that teenagers have mood swings and sudden changes in their emotional stability. When they are using drugs those will be magnified. A teenager who is depressed and closing in may be dealing with some mental health issues, therefore it is important that you don’t jump to conclusions and think that they are involved in any drug-related activities. Using drugs will affect their normal hormonal development. Sometimes it is really hard to figure out why your teenager is behaving the way they are but is important that you keep an eye on their mood and personality shifts or other signs of drug abuse.
Health and Hygiene
Teenagers are still figuring out life and how their body works and what they need to do. Even though the process of rapid growth and hormonal changes will take a toll on their body, particular signs could be because of drug abuse. Other than obvious marks on arms from drug injections, or bruises and scratches that were sustained when they were intoxicated. If they are lethargic, have frequent headaches and they have periods with very little sleep and then sleeping for several days, is a really common sign of drug abuse. If your teenager changed how much they care about their appearance, their focus might be on other things. A messy room and lack of personal hygiene could be a sign of mental health issues caused by drug use.
Changes at Home and School
If you noticed that they are skipping school and there’s a drastic decline in their grades, you could assume that there are drugs involved. If their teacher reached out to you because of them misbehaving during classes or reported to you that they are possible intoxicated during school hours, those red flags must be ignored. Keep an eye on things like cellophane wrappers, rolling papers, small pipes, bongs, aluminium foil, small zip locks or containers. Most of the time if your teen doesn’t have a job, they will steal things from your home and try to sell them for money, mostly things like prescription medication. You must check and make sure that any alcohol cabinets and refrigerator that have alcohol in them are monitored because they can also use it as currency to trade for drugs.
If Your Teen Admits To Taking Drugs:
If your teen comes clean about using drugs, you should overreact no matter how hard it is. Overreacting will prevent your teen from telling you everything. Getting your teenager to tell you everything is an important step in determining if that was a one-time thing or if it’s becoming an addiction.
Your job as a parent is to explain how much you care about them and their future. Teenagers that feel loved are more likely to stop using or ask for help if they have an addiction.
If Your Teen Denies Drug Use:
Of course, there is a possibility that your teen is lying about if they are doing drugs or not. You should reassure them and let them know that you are concerned and that you want to help them. If your teen keeps denying that they are using drugs and you are still sure that they are purchasing an at-home urine drug test or talk to a professional. Pediatricians, therapists and addiction specialist will help you diagnose your teenager with a drug problem.
You have to keep in mind that being a teenager is not easy and sometimes they are just struggling mentally. Don’t accuse them of using drugs, ask simple questions about their school and social life. That way you will gather information and you will be up to date with their lives and feelings.
Contributed by Emily Wilson