Parents and teachers can learn to spot the signs of substance abuse.
Here are 21 physical, emotional and behavioral signs and symptoms of adolescent drug and alcohol abuse:
- Overly sleepy or “nodding out” in the classroom
- Whites of the eyes are red
- Unusually dilated or constricted pupils of the eye
- A undesirable change in peer group
- Coming in late to school or sneaking out early
- More aggressive or argumentative behavior
- Decline in grades
- Losing interest in favorite extra-curricular activities such as sports
- Changes in sleeping patterns
- Loss of appetite or other dramatic changes in eating
- Changes in weight
- Smelling of smoke, strong cologne, or drugs
- Lack of coordination (stumbling, falling, unable to perform easy tasks)
- Avoiding family functions
- Lying, making excuses for absences, lateness, etc.
- Memory problems
- Jittery or edginess
- Your money is missing
- Unusual or frequent coughing or vomiting
- Slurred speech
It’s extremely important that you bear in mind that any one or combination of these signs or symptoms could indicate physical or mental health issue. Some, such as being argumentative, could be just the ups and downs of being an adolescent. However if you reasonably suspect that a teen in your life is abusing drugs or alcohol, it needs to be addressed, which I’ll talk about in our next post.