5 Signs That Your Teenager May Be Suffering from an Addiction

Addiction is a terrible disease that can destroy families, but what many parents don’t realize is that young people can develop addictions. It’s estimated that 9 out of 10 adults with an addiction to alcohol or drugs started using these substances before they turned 18, and while it can be harder for a teenager to buy illicit substances, the early warnings can be there. Here are some signs your child might need professional help.
  1. A Change in Personality
Teenagers have mood swings, so a change in personality might not be a sure sign that something is up. Sometimes personality changes in teenagers can be due to a change of friendship group, going through a phase, or just feeling down about something. However, if your child is uncommunicative, has glazed over eyes and is losing interest in their studies or hobbies, there could be a deeper issue such as drugs.
  1. Finding Paraphernalia
It’s not wise to go rifling through your teenager’s room — it can break your bond of trust — but if you happen upon alcohol or drug paraphernalia when cleaning, then you should speak to your teenager. Items such as tobacco tins, rolling papers, burnt teaspoons or syringes can be pretty damning evidence, but try to address the issue calmly. If they do have a problem with alcohol and drug abuse, then they will no doubt be feeling scared and vulnerable and need help.
  1. Get Close to Them
When your teenager comes home, speak to them face to face, as you’ll be able to smell alcohol or smoke on their breath. Pay attention to whether they have dilated or constricted pupils or look flushed. These things are hard to hide. While your teenager getting drunk or high doesn’t mean they have an addiction, a pattern of them doing it at inappropriate times may indicate an addiction.
  1. Monitor Their Driving
Whether they have their own car or are using yours, teenagers who have driving privileges should be using an app to track their driving. From this, you may be able to notice any suspicious patterns. For example, you may notice regular driving to an address you don’t know in a bad neighborhood, or poor driving in general which may be due to being under the influence. If they have their own car, there are lots of hiding places for things like drugs, and you can often smell if someone has been drinking or smoking in their vehicle.
  1. They Admit Their Problem is Out of Control
Teenagers with addiction will often be reluctant to open up, but they need to know that you’re there for them. Tell them how concerned you are, emphasizing that they’re not in trouble — you simply want to get them help. Addictions can sometimes run in families, so if you or a loved one have gone through addiction or recovery, then you should be open with your teenager rather than denying it. Sometimes, teenagers want to admit that they have a problem with drugs or alcohol, but are worried about the consequences if they do. So even if they try to downplay the behavior, you should talk to them about getting help.