Clue In to Behavioral Issues
The signs of substance abuse aren't all physical. Be aware of these behavioral indicators that may be a sign that your teen has been drinking or is using drugs, especially if you've noticed an abrupt change in one of these behaviors.
Change in relationships with family members or friends
If your teens treats you or other family with blatant disrespect, or has completely ditched certain friends, drugs could be to blame.
- Loss of inhibitions
- Mood changes or emotional instability
- Loud, obnoxious behavior
- Laughing at nothing
- Unusually clumsy, stumbling, lack of coordination, poor balance
- Sullen, withdrawn, depressed
- Unusually tired
- Silent, uncommunicative
- Hostile, angry, uncooperative
- Deceitful or secretive
- Makes endless excuses
An overwhelmed teen may just "drop" a class or club, but a general lack of motivation for school, activities and friends could be a sign of substance abuse.
Unable to speak intelligibly, slurred speech, or rapid-fire speech
Barring hearing loss or stroke, slurred speech is usually linked to the influence of some type of drug.
- Inability to focus
It's good to have a happy teen, but if your kid is bizarrely elated for no reason, it is possible he's high off amphetamines or another drug.
Periods of sleeplessness or high energy, followed by long periods of "catch up" sleep
Cocaine, meth, prescription pain relievers, prescription stimulants, and amphetamines keep users up for days, and then make them crash.
Click a label to see related signs and symptoms of teenage alcohol use and/or drug use
A CLOSER LOOK
Studies shows that teenagers can't truly wind down until at least 11pm — but usually must be up by 6am for high school! In addition, most teens are too busy with homework, sports, and after-school clubs to get the 9 hours of sleep doctors recommend. So it's no surprise teens are perpetually tired. But if your teenager seems abnormally exhausted, it could be because he has a hangover or is using cocaine, amphetamines or prescription pain relievers, all which disrupt the normal sleep pattern.