Signs of Use, Abuse and Addiction in Your Teenager

As a parent, you want to believe the best of your child. However, if you’ve noticed some changes in your daughter’s behavior, attitude, physical appearance or social group, you may wonder if you should be concerned. This is perfectly normal, and this concern could, in fact, save your daughter’s life. Physical, emotional, behavioral and social changes could indicate she is using and abusing drugs or alcohol.

She wouldn’t be the only one. According to a 2016 survey by the National Institute on Drug Abuse, 7.3 percent of 8th graders have tried or regularly drink alcohol. 19.9 percent of 10th graders and 33.2 percent of 12th graders admitted to the same. Marijuana use by troubled teens in both private and public schools was evaluated as well, with 5.4 percent of 8th graders admitting to using and 22.5 percent of 12th graders told survey takers they had smoked marijuana as well. Prescription and over-the-counter opioid use has decreased over the past five years, per the survey, however, misuse is still prominent among many troubled teens, with 6.7 percent using amphetamines in the past year, 4.9 percent using tranquilizers, 4.8 percent using opioids other than heroin and 4 percent using cough medicine.

While the survey states that many of the drug rates for teen have decreased, or remained the same, drug use, abuse and addiction is still a prevalent problem. If you’re noticing changes in your daughter, you need to know if drug use is an issue.  Here are just a few signs to watch out for.

Signs of Teen Drug Use and Abuse

It may be hard to tell the difference between the pangs of adolescence and teen drug abuse. However, proactive discussions with your teen to determine what might be going on can help you determine what steps to take for her future. Here are some of the most common signs to watch for:

Physical Appearance

  • Poor hygiene
  • Flushed face or cheeks
  • Burns on fingers or lips
  • Lack of care for appearance

Habits and Actions

  • Unusual odors on breath or clothes
  • Clenching teeth
  • Consistent use of OTC medicines to get rid of red eyes, bad breath or nasal irritations
  • Secretive phone calls
  • Reckless driving
  • Avoidance of eye contact
  • Sudden increase or decrease in appetite

Behavioral Changes and Mental Health

  • Suddenly hanging out with a new group of friends
  • Emotional instability
  • Unusually uncoordinated or clumsy
  • Loud and obnoxious
  • Unprovoked hostility or anger
  • Hyperactivity
  • Secretive
  • Reduced motivation
  • Slurred speech

School Issues

  • Truancy
  • Loss of interest in sports or after-school activities
  • Fails to complete schoolwork
  • Increased number of complaints from teachers

How to Address Drug Use, Abuse and Addiction

The most important thing you can do when you suspect drug or alcohol use by your teenager is to talk to her. She may be willing to admit her mistakes and may seek your help in fixing the problem. Not every teen is going to admit they are taking drugs or drinking, however, and you may need more proof before taking the next step.

So, what is that next step? At Greenbrier Academy, we offer several therapeutic exercises that have been created to help your daughter understand why she began taking drugs or drinking alcohol, how it has helped or hindered the goals she has had in her life and how the experience has affected the relationship she has with herself and with others.

At our boarding school, we don’t believe in simply telling your daughter she has done something wrong and she must stop. This often leads to relapses and failure to remain sober. Instead, we help your daughter examine her own choices and see how each step she takes affects her present and her future. Once she has a clear picture, she’s then free to make healthier decisions.

Do you suspect your daughter has a problem with drug or alcohol? At Greenbrier, we can help her embrace her life fully and passionately through a number of therapeutic exercises as well as a stable, secure and drug-free environment. Consider our West Virginia boarding school for your daughter’s recovery and scholastic future.