For many people, their teenage years are filled with rebellion and experimentation. Sometimes it can be difficult to draw the line between experimenting and a more serious problem. Here are some signs that your teen may be developing an addiction to tobacco, alcohol, or drugs.
Physical Signs of Addiction
Since addiction is a physical process, there are a number of physical signs of addiction. Bloodshot eyes or extremely large or small pupils are signs that there may be drugs active in your teen’s system. Frequent nosebleeds, often resulting from a snorted drug, can also be a sign of frequent use.
Sudden weight loss or gain and significant changes in sleep, either too much or too little, are further signs of addiction. Wearing long sleeves and pants even in warm weather may be a sign of hiding track marks from needle injections.
Certain patterns of drug use can indicate an addiction. Tolerance, the need of more and more of the substance to get the same feeling, is a strong sign of addiction. From the outside, this might look like the user taking increasing amounts or them switching to a more direct delivery, like snorting or injecting.
Withdrawal symptoms, when your teen can’t get the substance, are sure signs of addiction. Withdrawal symptoms can include irritability, mood swings, frustration, trouble focusing, constipation, diarrhea, shaking or trembling, seizures, sweating, depression, anxiety, or flat emotions. Different substances will cause different withdrawal symptoms.
Continuing to use even when the substance is causing problems, like trouble in school, relationship difficulties, health problems, or legal trouble, are more signs of addiction. Your teen may begin to take bigger risks, like getting drunk or high in public or driving under the influence.
Using substances to cope with problems is another sign of addiction. If your teen wants a drink at a party, that may be experimentation. If your teen needs a drink because it was a rough day, there may be an addiction.
Failed attempts to quit are another sign of addiction. They suggest that the teen knows the substance use is not healthy, tried to stop and was unable to.
Addiction can have a significant effect on behavior. Struggling in school with falling grades, unexplained absences or behavior problems can be further signs of addiction. Spending less time with friends and family, avoiding hobbies or extracurricular activities they used to enjoy and getting into fights and arguments more often may also indicate a problem.
If your teen is acting secretive, has recently completely changed his or her group of friends and has begun asking for money more often or stealing things from the home to sell, there may be an issue with drugs.
Sudden mood swings, depression, apathy, lack of motivation, aggression, inability to sleep, sleeping all day, hyperactivity, difficulty focusing and paranoia are all symptoms of drug or alcohol use and abuse as well.
Mental Signs of Addiction
If your teen is willing to talk about substance use, ask how he or she thinks about the substance. A feeling of being out of control or helpless to stop, thinking about the substance often throughout the day, an inability to stop or cut down usage or using when he or she specifically planned not to are all signs of addiction.
Talk to your teens about the symptoms and signs of addiction so that they can recognize them in themselves if the need ever comes. If you are worried that your teen may have an addiction, talk to him or her about the problem and seek professional help. Addiction is a serious problem that is difficult to overcome without the support of friends, family and health and behavioral professionals. If your teen is struggling with addiction all our teen addiction hotline today 800.447.9081!