Picking Up on the Signs: How to Tell if Your Teenager is Using Drugs

Knowing How to tell if Your Teenager is Using Drugs

Most parents’ work hard at preparing their children to abstain from peer-pressure and drug experimentation, which is why learning that your teenager may be on drugs can be devastating. It is important to understand the signs of drug use and to look for them if you notice your teen suddenly acting differently. If you want to know how to tell if your teenager is using drugs, you need to be aware of the warning signs and symptoms of drug use.

Why Do Teens Turn to Drugs?

Many times, teenage drug use starts out as in social settings for the sake of experimenting. There may be other contributors as well, such as family history of alcoholism, low self-esteem, anxiety, and stress. Repeated drug use can easily become drug abuse. If you are a parent who wants to know how to tell if your teenager is using drugs, there are plenty of physical signs to look for.

Warning Signs and Symptoms of Drug Use

As a parent, you are aware of your teenager’s typical behavior. Although the teenage years are expected to bring change, drastic differences in behavior need to be noted. It can be easy to let emotions overlook the obvious signs of drug use. You could also include a close friend or other family member and voice your concerns to them. Having more than one set of eyes can help at a time like this.

Changes in Behavior and Attitude

Look for changes in attitude toward school, friends, family, and relationships. For example, if your teenager has always been involved in his or her grades, and suddenly has stopped caring and spending time doing other things, it is possible that drugs are a distraction. Sudden disinterest in activities they once cared about is a strong sign that something is wrong.

Be sure to stay on top of any major shifts in attitude. Lack of motivation and carelessness can be a result from drug use. Is your teenager lashing out or becoming distant from the family? Have you noticed a difference in the crowd their choosing to hang out with? Has there been a sudden change in grades and interest in school? Ask yourself these questions when trying to understand your teenager’s different behavior.

Signs of Intoxication

It is important to know the warning signs and symptoms of drug use, so that you can spot them if your teenager comes home exhibiting any of them. Depending on the drug, the signs of drug use may vary; here are some things you can look for:

  • Marijuana/Cannabis: red eyes, decreased coordination, acting “high” or in a euphoric state of mind, paranoia, dry mouth, increased appetite, giddiness, constant laughing, difficulty concentrating.
  • Hallucinogens, synthetic street drugs: lack of sensation throughout the body, hallucinations, aggressiveness, increase in heart rate, trouble speaking, intolerance to loud noises or fast movement, and more.
  • Painkillers: drowsiness, euphoric feelings, slurred speech, sweaty, constricted pupils, runny nose, track marks on arms/feet, constipation, relaxed state, and reduced sense of pain.
  • Stimulants: heart rate and blood pressure increase, alertness, rapid speech, irritability, mood swings, insomnia, dilated pupils, hallucinations, nasal congestion, increased energy, and paranoia.

Keep in mind that because of the wide array of drugs available in the streets, there are many more signs of drug use for you to be aware of. A good idea would be to educate yourself on the latest trends in your area. Stay informed about the substances circling the streets and schools surrounding your teenager. Knowing how to tell if your teenager is on drugs can save your teen’s life.

Get Help Now

If you have come to the conclusion that your teenager is using drugs, you need to take action. Outpatient and inpatient counseling is available, depending on your child’s needs. Getting help now can stop drug dependency from forming, and can ultimately save lives.

If you or a loved one needs help with abuse and/or treatment, please call the WhiteSands Treatment at (877) 855-3470. Our addiction specialists can assess your recovery needs and help you get the addiction treatment that provides the best chance for your long-term recovery.

About the Author

is a proud alumni member of WhiteSands Treatment. After living a life of chaos, destruction and constant let downs, Mark was able to make a complete turnaround that sparked a new way of life. He is serious about his recovery along with helping others. At WhiteSands Treatment, we offer support to you in your homes or when you are out living in your daily lives.