Know the warning signs of teen drugs use
What mom hasn’t struggled through the shifting moods of adolescence as her child matures? The sudden tears and moments of high drama or gleeful exuberance are all part of the expected atmosphere when living with a teen.
Except one day you notice real changes and your teen doesn’t seem their normal self. Something is wrong, but you can’t be sure what it is. Then comes that first shiver of suspicion: Could your child be using drugs?
Since teens rarely own up to drug use, it is up to the parent to know the warning signs of drug use.
Here are ten of the most common:
1. Your child’s moods swing more than they did a short time ago. Sudden outbursts of anger or sadness are particularly worrisome.
2. You notice glassy eyes, a runny nose, or an increase in sleeping. Any of these alone may indicate drug use.
3. Grades begin to drop. A loss of interest in school or former interests, such as sports or a hobby, may be due to an increased interest in substance use.
4. Your child begins to isolate. If your child formerly joined you for dinner and now spends dinnertime or family time locked in her room, this is a red flag.
5. A new group of friends shows up. New habits will bring friends.
6. There is an increase in risk taking behavior: incidents of truancy, shoplifting (even of petty items), or vandalism occur. This shows an inability to connect choices with consequences.
7. Your notice deterioration in your child’s personal grooming habits and/or new smells on her breath, body, or clothing.
8. Without explanation, there is a sudden need for money. You might notice your own cash or other belongings missing.
9. Your teen demands more privacy and begins locking doors.
10. An inability to focus, appearing very tired, or being alternately fearful or paranoid without any apparent reason are hallmark signs of drug use.
If you think your teen has begun using drugs, contact the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence for resources and support.
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Anne Spollen lives happily as a Solo Mom to three kids and works as an author, a writer, and a college teacher.
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