Written by Chloe Nicosia
If you are a parent concerned that your teenager may be experimenting with drugs, the first thing to know is that you are not alone. Teenage drug use is a widespread problem, and one that is well worth learning about whether your child is currently using or you simply want to be prepared for the possibility in the future. The fact of the matter is, as of 2013, more teenagers experimented with marijuana than cigarettes, so the problem is certainly on the rise. What’s more, legal drugs are as much of an issue as illegal drugs; today’s parents of teenagers have plenty to learn about concerning the potential dangers their children face when experimenting.
The most important thing to remember when looking at whether or not your teenager is experimenting with drugs is that, contrary to the likely beliefs of your child, you know them better than anyone. While some warning signs might apply to some children, they might not apply to yours. Always trust your instincts when it comes to your child, but here are some general warning signs that apply to most people most of the time.
Sudden Grade Changes
One of the most common warning signs of drug use among teenagers is a sudden change in academic performance. Again, you know your child and as such you know what constitutes a “change in academic performance,” but keep an eye out for whatever that definition is. A change can be an indication that your child has started to prioritize something over school, and this can be the acquisition or use of drugs. If you’ve noticed this change, a good first step is to talk to a teacher or administrator to see if there is an academic reason for this change.
Sudden Attitude Changes
This can be particularly difficult to identify as a warning sign in teenagers, as simply being a teen can bring about these changes, but in combination with other warning signs, it can be a rather obvious indicator. These behavior changes do not necessarily need to be toward violence or aggression, though these are typical. Changes in behavior can include anything out of the ordinary, including sudden tendencies toward laziness or hyperactivity. Only you know your child, so only you will know what constitutes a change.
As with attitude changes, physical changes can encompass a wide variety of things. Your child putting on a significant amount of weight can be as much of a sign of drug use as your child losing a significant amount. Changes are not limited to weight, either. A change might be a change to hygiene. Maybe your teenager has stopped taking care of him or herself hygienically, which can be a sign that something has taken precedence in their lives over their own health.
There are a wide variety of physical signs of drug use that have nothing to do with weight fluctuations and/or hygienic changes. These signs are much more concerning, because whether or not they are induced by drug use, they must be addressed as soon as possible for the health of your child. These signs, similar to what is experienced in drug detox, can be tremors, seizures (provided your teen does not have any prior health issues that would cause seizures), slurred speech, or anything else out of the ordinary and seemingly involuntary.
If after reading this you are concerned that your teenager is using drugs, you have a variety of courses of action available to you before matters escalate to a stay at a luxury Tampa rehab. The only irresponsible course is to do nothing. Here are some resources to help you do what you decide is best.
- Teen Drug Use: What to Look For
- Spotting Drug Use
- Drug Abuse and Addiction
- Signs of Marijuana Use
- Drug Addiction Symptoms
- Six Types of Warning Signs
- Warning Signs and Effects of Using
- Signs of Teen Alcohol and Drug Abuse
- Taking Action Once Concerns are Confirmed
- Seven Early Signs of Teen Drug Use
- Worried About Your Teenager
- Signs of Teen Heroin Abuse
- Teen Drug Abuse: How to Know and What to Do
- Partnership for Drug-Free Kids
- Teenage Drug Abuse Resource for Parents and Educators
- Substance Abuse in Rural Areas
- Definition of Drug Abuse and Dependence Signs
- Mind, Body, and Sport: Substance Use and Abuse
- Adolescent Drug Use and Abuse
- Tools to Resist Drug Use
- Talk to Your Teen About Drugs
- Five Tips for Talking to Teens About Drug Use
- Talking to Teens About Marijuana
- Talking to Your Teens About Drugs
- How to Talk to Your Teens About Drug Addiction