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How to Spot Alcohol or Drug Activity?

Mother embracing her teen daughter to comfort her

Parents play a huge role in the lives of their children. They know their kids better than anyone else and are on hand to notice when something isn’t right. That’s why every parent needs to be aware of the signs to look out for regarding alcohol or drug abuse in teens.

Here are some ways to spot alcohol or drug use to help your teen stay safe and healthy.

How to Detect Alcohol or Drug Activity

Alcohol or drug use can be challenging to detect. However, there are some tell-tale signs that your teen is struggling with substance abuse. One of the best ways to detect alcohol or drug use in teens is to look at their space, including their room and postings on social media. Their activity on social media may tell you about your teen’s problems.

Another way to detect alcohol or drug use is to monitor your teen’s behavior. If your teen has sudden mood swings, seems more withdrawn, and starts hanging out with people they don’t usually hang out with, these are all indicators that something might be wrong.

Communicate With Your Child

You and your teen need to establish an open dialogue about subjects like drugs and alcohol. Listen to your child and withhold judgment when they speak. Doing so will build trust and help your child understand that you support them.

Together, you and your child can address what is bothering them and find ways to help manage the symptoms they are experiencing. You should consider seeking professional care to provide additional methods to help your child overcome the challenges of school and life that may trigger them to use substances.

Tell-Tale Signs of Drug Use or Consumption of Alcohol

The effects of alcohol and drugs vary depending on the person and how often they use them. It’s not always easy to spot a person using these substances because some don’t show outward signs. Some of the most common symptoms include changes in behavior, appearance, and emotions. The following list highlights the tell-tale signs:

Mental Health Related Signs of Substance Use:

  • Mood swings
  • Fatigue and decreased motivation
  • Increased paranoia and hallucinations caused by high doses and intense periods of substance use
  • Have difficulty focusing on the tasks at hand
  • Exhibit antisocial behavior such as aggression or increased impulsiveness
  • Anxiety or depression
  • Suspiciousness of others, including you as a parent
  • Inability to focus or concentrate a decrease in short-term memory

Physical Signs of Substance Use:

  • Constant bloodshot eyes and dilated pupils (than usual)
  • Rubbing the nose frequently because of a continuously running or irritable nose
  • Redness of the skin around the mouth
  • A lack of coordination with movement due to impaired brain function
  • Dilated nostrils or mouth due to snorting or inhalation
  • An odor, like alcohol,  on the breath or clothes
  • Decrease in appetite with consequent weight loss over time
  • Track marks on arms or legs from intravenous drug use
  • Needles and syringes are lying around
  • Small baggies with white powder lying around their stuff
  • Withdrawal symptoms (such as anxiety, irritability, agitation)
  • There are more scabs or bruises from picking at skin compulsively (common among people who abuse stimulants)

Behavioral Signs of Substance Use:

  • A sudden change in friends or hanging out with a new crowd
  • Anger issues such as rage attacks (breaking things)
  • Exhibit antisocial behavior such as aggression or increased impulsiveness
  • New or more significant secretive behavior
  • Sudden changes in grades
  • Staying out late, withdrawing from the family, or wanting to isolate
  • Problems with the law, such as frequent run-ins with police
  • Stealing objects in the house that they can sell or asking you for money
  • Vague responses when asked what’s wrong or how they feel; their answer is always “fine” or “good”
  • Lack of motivation or interest in activities once enjoyed by the individual
  • Increased absenteeism from school or extracurricular activities

If you see any of these signs in your teen, it’s essential to talk to them and get them help.

How to Help Your Teen?

Parents can help their teens recover from drugs with treatment, including counseling, drug education, medication, and family therapy. Parents can also provide support by participating in their child’s recovery process via counseling and by continuing to strengthen the lines of communication. The more resources for help you provide your child, the better chance they have at a successful recovery.

At Clearfork Academy, our treatment programs involve therapy, holistic services, education on relapse prevention, and peer support to reduce the urge for substance use.

If you find yourself questioning whether your teen is drinking or doing drugs, take action. Talk with them, educate yourself about substance use, and get them the help they need. At Clearfork Academy, we encourage and help parents lookout for any signs of alcohol or drugs. Our programs help educate parents and teens about substance use. Having an understanding of substance use will also allow parents, teens, and health professionals with diagnosis and find appropriate treatment. We provide evidence-based treatments, various therapeutic options, and holistic services that serve your teen’s recovery goals. Our goal is to help your teen overcome substance use and establish the confidence necessary to live life to its fullest potential. Stop your teen’s struggles with substance use from worsening by contacting our specialists at Clearfork Academy. Our admissions are here 24 hours a day, seven days a week. To learn more about our programs, contact us today by calling (888) 966-8604.

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5 Signs of Teen Drug Use

Are you concerned that changes in your teens behavior may be the result of drug use? It can be difficult to understand your teenager’s actions in the best of circumstances; we know it’s even harder if you have real concerns about their health and well-being. To help you determine what could be cause for concern, we’ve put together a list of the top five signs of teen drug use. 

 

1. Physical Symptoms

Physical changes can vary depending on what drugs your teen may be using. When the body is being suppressed by a substance, there can be a variety of consequences. Here is a list of specific things to look for, but keep in mind that your child may only show one or two from this list: 

        • Bloodshot eyes

        • Bruises or marks on their arms

        • Shaking or tremors

        • Unusual sores or rashes

        • Frequent nosebleeds

        • Lingering cough, runny nose or flu-like symptoms 

2. Severe Fatigue

After coming down from a high, teens may feel very fatigued. This leads to long periods of sleep, constant drowsiness, and a lack of focus. If your teen is experiencing these symptoms, without a medical reason, take note. This could be a sign of substance use. 

3. Personality/Mood Changes

Again, depending on the type of substances being used, these symptoms can vary. Pay attention to anything that seems out of character for your teen. Here’s a list of the most common ways these mood changes present themselves when substance use is involved:

        • Depression

        • Anxiety

        • Sudden rage

        • Violent outbursts

4. Change in Priorities

When teens begin using drugs, they tend to lose interest in things they were once very involved in such as sports, hobbies, or clubs. Even their grades can begin to suffer as they withdraw from regular activities. If your child is beginning to pull away from the things they once loved, pay attention. This is a huge red flag!

5. Getting Into Trouble

Are you getting calls from school about behavior problems? Or maybe your teen is involved in some sort of illegal activity, such as theft. Teens can act out when withdrawal or cravings hit, and are willing to do nearly anything to get their hands on whatever substance they’ve been using. If your child is getting into trouble, it’s important to get to the bottom of it. Drug use could definitely be a contributing factor.

 

If you’ve noticed any of these signs or symptoms in your teen, please get them the help they need. At Clearfork Academy, we offer intensive outpatient and residential treatment for teens struggling with substance abuse and mental health issues. Our admissions specialists are available 24/7 to discuss your child’s unique situation and provide guidance on your next steps. Call us at 888-966-8604, email us at [email protected], or visit our website at www.ClearforkAcademy.com.

 

Are you wondering if your teen may have a substance abuse problem? Download our free “Teen Substance Abuse 101” guide. This comprehensive guide will walk you through discovering if your child has a substance abuse problem, and what to do next! Download your free guide here: Download Now